This post is a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the publication of C.S. Lewis’ That Hideous Strength and George Orwell’s Animal Farm.
Why did That Hideous Strength, which preceded 1984 and was reviewed by Orwell, remain mostly a fan favourite while 1984 is still regarded as a dystopian classic?
It is one thing to say, “1984 is a greater book.” It is true; I can feel that it is tighter, more invasive as cultural critique, a fuller fictional world, and less contextually specific (so more universal). But there are problems with 1984. There is a huge section of reading from a nonfiction book; while fascinating, it is unnecessary to the plot to go into that detail. 1984 is didactic, often lecturing the reader in the way that Ayn Rand does. Moreover, much of the detail of that nonfiction book is repeated somewhere in the actual action. There…
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