[Ads-l] Antedating of "Orwellian"

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Thu Jan 14 12:39:26 UTC 2021

Fall 1949
Peter Ustinov, Sight and Sound p. 15 [ProQuest--though not necessarily 1984-ish?]
It is difficult to see a solution without being plunged into an Orwellian gloom.

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at YALE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2021 7:23 AM
Subject: Antedating of "Orwellian"

Orwellian (OED 1950)

1949 St. Albans (Vt.) Daily Messenger 4 Nov. 4/3 (Newspapers.com)  Almost all the Orwellian techniques of a future totalitarianism are found here.

Fred Shapiro

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
Sent: Thursday, January 14, 2021 6:17 AM
Subject: Orwellian, 1950

Jan. 14 NYTimes, "How 'Orwellian' Became an All-Purpose Insult" includes:
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term “Orwellian” started as a literary critic’s playful shorthand, when the writer Mary McCarthy used it in a 1950 essay to describe a fashion magazine that had no “point of view beyond its proclamation of itself.” McCarthy published in The Reporter, p. 33, dated Aug. 1, 1950 (though maybe available in July), "Up The Ladder From Charm to Vogue." "It [Flair] is a leap into the Orwellian future,  a magazine without content or point of view beyond its proclamation of itself, one hundred and twenty pages of sheer presentation, a journalistic mirage."

Slight antedating. The Sphere [London}, April 8, 1950, "The Drive for 'New Australians': and how it is being acheived," p. 44:
"It is by now widely agreed, without Britain right in it, Western Europe is likely to evolve as a freak, to be eventually either German-dominated or recast in the mould of Moscow Communism (something leading to Orwellian 1984).

S. Goranson

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