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About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the character of Winston, the protagonist of the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) who he is and what he does: his loneliness and his relatively poor health, and his job at the Records Department at the Ministry of Truth; (iii) his various hardships, e.g. his mother dying when he was young, his joyless marriage, his alcoholism, etc.; (iv) his fragile psyche, e.g. his sudden habit of becoming ‘violently angry’, his urge to shout ‘filthy words at the top of his voice’; (v) his troubled (and troubling) relationship with women – especially his mother, sister and Julia; and (vi) his fear of rats.
In this course, Dr Nathan Waddell (University of Birmingham) explores George Orwell’s 1949 novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. The first two modules provide broad context for the novel: in the first, we think about Orwell’s writing of the novel and the reaction of his contemporaries, while in the second we think about Orwell’s life and career, and the experiences that contributed to the shape of the novel. After that, in the third and fourth modules, we think about the novel’s form, considering first (in the third module) the genre, structure and style of novel, and then (in the fourth module) the texts and traditions that had an influence on the novel. In the fifth module, we think about some of the key themes of the novel, before turning in the six, seventh and eighth modules to focus in more detail on the characters of Winston, Julia and O’Brien. Finally, in the ninth module, we think about the novel’s legacy, including its influence on other writings and its continued relevance today.
Dr Nathan Waddell is Senior Lecturer in Early Twentieth-Century and Modernist Literature at the University of Birmingham. He teaches and researches early twentieth-century literature, with a core emphasis on the life, work, and controversies of the painter and writer Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957). His recent publications include Moonlighting: Beethoven and Literary Modernism (2019) and (as co-editor with J. Greenberg) 'Brave New World': Contexts and Legacies. (2016).
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Cite this Lecture
Waddell, N. (2020, January 04). Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four - Winston [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/orwell-nineteen-eighty-four/winston
Waddell, Nathan. "Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four – Winston." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 04 Jan 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/orwell-nineteen-eighty-four/winston