Journal Article

Horror comics and highbrow sadism: televising George Orwell in the 1950s


This paper examines the transformation of George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) from a controversial but contemporary-focused vision into a celebrated, universalising popular classic, and situates the first televisual screening of a B.B.C. adaptation in December 1954 as a turning point in this transformation. Receiving outraged reviews from both public and press for its frank portrayal of state violence and torture, the play changed Orwell's literary reputation and brought him to the attention of a far wider (and more socially diverse) audience than the novel had previously achieved. This paper will consider the production history of the teleplay, explore the social and cultural contexts for the controversy and examine the impact on Orwell's literary afterlife.

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Lea, Daniel

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of English and Modern Languages


Year of publication: 2010
Date of RADAR deposit: 2013-12-13

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