Reading Orwell’s 1984 for the first time since high school

Nabokov said, “One cannot read a book; one can only reread it.”

So when one of my MFA students suggested we read 1984, I didn’t think, “yes, our dysfunctional times, veering toward totalitarianism, demand that we revisit this indispensable classic”; I just thought, “okay, why not have another go at it and see what I make of it now?”

Like most of my generation, I read 1984 in high school, when it was part of the flux of fascist dystopia we all absorbed. Of course since its publication in its…

John M. Williams

I’m retired from academia and live in LaGrange, GA. I write fiction, non-fiction, and plays, and read everything. I blog at

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