Sunday, April 8, 2018

First Lines Second Thoughts — George Orwell's 1984

photo © Mark Butkus 2007
Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast...

First Lines Second Thoughts is an occasional look at the first lines of well known literary works. On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? Today, on a cold April day, we look at the opening lines of George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984.


1984

It was a bright
cold day in April,
and the clocks
were striking thirteen.
Winston Smith,
his chin nuzzled
into his breast
in an effort to
escape the vile wind,
slipped quickly through
the glass doors of
Victory Mansions,
though not quickly enough
to prevent a swirl of
gritty dust from entering
along with him.


— George Orwell


Born Eric Arthur Blair and known to the world as George Orwell, the English author of Animal Farm set to writing 1984 after being diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1947. He would spend the better part of 1948 working on the manuscript before submitting it in January 1949. Orwell never fully recovered from his illness and died six month after the novel's June 1949 publication in January 1950.