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George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Publisher: © 1949 Harcourt, Brace & Co., USA, New York.

The First edition

NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR was published in 1949 by Secker & Warburg. States “First published 1949”. Binding Green calico, top edge purple. Jacket is red with white lettering and with wraparound band, Evening Standard “Book of the Month”. Front flap has price of 10s. Net. 25,575 printed. There is a less preferred green jacket. The first paperback edition was published by Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, in 1954. Since then it has been reprinted in the Penguin edition twenty-six times (and today is January 07, 2002).

By Daniel J. Leab:

Harcourt preferred the title “The Last Man in Europe”, or at least the use of the numbers “1984”, but ultimately agreed to Nineteen Eighty-Four. The American publishers like their English counterpart were anxious to get Orwell's book into print as soon as possible. Therefore, the American edition was set separately from a copy of Orwell's manuscript. Orwell in the proof stage caught some of the changes made by Harcourt's editors, but there are differences between the original American and British editions. Another problem arose from Harcourt's wooing of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Initially the club agreed to accept the Orwell book only on deletion of some of the more political and theoretical parts of the novel, such as the Appendix on “The Principles of Newspeak” — the substitute for “Old Speak (or Standard English, as we should call it)” whose implementation Orwell explained was “designed to diminish the range of thought”. Orwell refused to delete anything and after some brief hesitation the Club agreed to accept the Orwell book as a monthly selection. The American edition was published in June 1949. A year after publication Harcourt had sold 170,000 copies; and 190,000 were distributed in the book-club edition.

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