Enrichment Arts & Culture

George Orwell’s estate approves retelling ‘1984’ from woman’s point of view

Story at a glance

  • American writer Sandra Newman got the greenlight from George Orwell’s estate to craft a feminist retelling of “1984.”
  • Newman’s book, entitled “Julia,” tells the story of “1984” through the eyes of protagonist Winston Smith’s lover Julia.
  • Orwell’s classic novel follows the life of Winston Smith, who lives in the totalitarian country of Oceania ruled by “Big Brother.”

The estate of George Orwell has given the go-ahead for a feminist retelling of the British author’s classic novel “1984,” according to The Guardian. 

American author Sandra Newman will tell the story of Orwell’s “1984” through the perspective of protagonist Winston Smith’s lover Julia. 

“It was the man from Records who began it, him all unknowing in his prim, grim way, his above-it-all oldthink way. He was the one Syme called ‘Old Misery’,” Newman writes in an excerpt of the book obtained by The Guardian. “Comrade Smith was his right name, though ‘Comrade’ never suited him somehow. Of course, if you felt foolish calling someone ‘Comrade’, far better not to speak to them at all.”


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Orwell’s classic is a dystopian novella written in 1949 that tells the story of Winston Smith, a low-ranking officer in the ruling party in a futuristic London in the fictional nation of Oceania, which is governed by an omnipresent leader known as “Big Brother.” 

The book is a cautionary tale against the effects of totalitarianism and was allegedly inspired by Russian novelist Yevgeny Zamyatin’s book “We” published more than 20 years prior, according to The New York Times

Orwell’s estate told The Guardian it had been “looking for some time” for an author to tell the story of Smith’s lover and Newman “proved to be the perfect fit.”

“Two of the unanswered questions in Orwell’s novel are what Julia sees in Winston, and how she has navigated her way through the party hierarchy. Sandra gets under the skin of Big Brother’s world in a completely convincing way which is both true to the original but also gives a dramatically different narrative to stand alongside the original,” Orwell’s estate’s literary executor Bill Hamilton told The Guardian.“The millions of readers who have been brought up with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four will find this a provocative and satisfying companion.”


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