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George Orwell's predictions were 'bonkers'

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George Orwell's command of language and his ability to write with clarity and power, made him one of the outstanding authors and journalists of his age.

His concerns about freedom and justice have made him an attractive figure to both right and left down the years.

His best-known novels - Animal Farm and 1984 - are part of what is called the dystopian tradition - the place where everything has gone wrong (the word dystopia being the opposite of utopia).

Margaret Reynolds, professor of English at Queen Mary, University of London, told the Today programme: "Where he was an absolute master, and this is the essence of dystopian fiction, is taking real things in real life and taking them to extreme, extrapolating them out."

But John Sutherland, emeritus professor of English at University College London, said: "Orwell was absolutely 100% wrong in his predictions.

"The one thing he was right about was the tyranny by CCTV, but the rest of it - the notion of a socialist totalitarian state was bonkers."


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