In an ironic twist to beat all ironic twists, “1984,” George Orwell’s dystopian sci-fi tale that warns of the dangers of revising history and rewriting books for ideological ends is, itself, getting a feminist re-write. With approval from the Orwell estate, it will be re-told from a woman’s perspective.
As first reported in The Guardian, the new narrative will be told from the point of view of Julia, the love interest of Orwell’s main character, Winston Smith, who in the 1949 novel works at the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to suit the authoritarian government’s propaganda purposes. Titled “Julia,” the book comes from American author Sandra Newman, whose past work has been nominated for a Folio Prize and the British Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.
Neman’s publisher Granta told The Guardian that as a protagonist, Julia “understands” Orwell’s fictional world of Oceania “far better than Winston and is essentially happy with her life,” adding that Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, “has been consulted and approves of the project.”
According to Variety, multiple Hollywood studios are already vying for the adaptation rights. “… [W]hile film and TV rights won’t be optioned for several months yet,” the outlet reports, “there is already tremendous interest in ‘Julia.’”
The literary executor of Orwell’s estate, Bill Hamilton, said he is “delighted” by the “imaginative” retelling. “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,” he said. “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. The millions of readers who have been brought up with Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four,’ will find this a provocative and satisfying companion.”
As The Daily Wire reported in January, Orwell’s classic has experienced renewed popularity in the age of increasing government power seizure and major news organization scandals, becoming the best-selling book on Amazon that month.
One particular passage has been repeatedly quoted by social media users over the past year, describing life under the authoritarian ruler, Big Brother:
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute.
Jesse James, a contributor at Not the Bee, said of the new feminist retelling, “We have reached the stage of political discourse where they’ve actually started to subject Orwell himself to Orwellianism.”
Finished James, “For whom is [the feminist version of ‘1984’] intended? Fans of the original will be at best nonplussed by it. Latter-day woke Millennials have probably never even read ‘1984’ and so will have no cultural frame of reference for it.”