To Orwell Today,
Dear Jackie Jura,
I am looking for the book 1984 with author's signature and when I was searching on the Internet, I found your website.
I absolutely do not know where I should search for it, where I should ask for it... It is not for me, but for my friend and he wishes it a lot. I want to do everything to find the book :) and would like to ask you for help. Do you have some idea where I can find the book 1984 with the signature or whom should I write?
Please, let me know...
I'm sure it would be wonderful if you could make your friend's wish come true and present him with a copy -- signed by the author -- of Orwell's great masterpiece -- 1984.
But personally, I don't think it's possible to ever see one -- let alone buy one -- because I don't even know if such a thing exists -- although maybe Orwell did sign a few copies at the hospital -- if the publisher brought him some to do so. But who Orwell would have given them to I'm not sure -- maybe to his wife Sonia or friends who may have asked him to sign their copy. And maybe his publisher and book agent got signed copies.
You may not realize it but Orwell was very, very ill -- as a matter of fact, he was dying -- after he finished writing 1984 in December 1948. He actually collapsed from exhaustion up on Jura -- the isolated island in northern Scotland where he wrote 1984 and then typed the final manuscript himself because there was no secretary and then packaged up two copies and put them in the mail to his book agent and publisher.
After that Orwell had a wee dram of whisky in the kitchen with his sister in celebration -- and then he went upstairs to bed and didn't get up for weeks until he was well enough to travel and then he only had strength enough to get to a hospital in the hills in southern England. It was while he was there that 1984 was published -- on June 8th, 1949. By that time Orwell was well enough to work on the final proofs for the edition to be published in the USA -- and also strong enough to be transferred to a hospital in London -- by ambulance -- and that is where he died a few months later on January 21, 1950.
People who visited Orwell at the hospital in London say he was very, very weak -- even though he did perk up a bit after his wedding in his hospital room -- but not well enough to go to his own wedding reception in a nearby restaurant.
No one has ever mentioned, in any of the biographies, that they received a signed copy of 1984.
Sorry to be discouraging or disappoint you. There's a chance I could be wrong and a reader out there somewhere will write in saying they have a signed copy or know of someone who has a signed copy or know of where one may be viewed -- ie in the British Museum perhaps -- but I wouldn't hold my breath.
All the best,
PS - Orwell's signature is embedded in gold in the hardcover 4-volume edition of THE COLLECTED ESSAYS, JOURNALISM AND LETTERS OF GEORGE ORWELL, edited by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus, 1968:
PPS - It just occured to me, while writing about the postbox at Orwell's ANIMAL FARM village, that perhaps the Queen of England has a signed first-edition of "1984" because, at her request, Orwell sent a copy to Buckingham Palace. It had sold out in all the stores and so a phone call had been made to the author, who was lying in bed in the hospital. A car was sent from the palace to pick the book up from Orwell's room and he, being a classy guy, probably would have signed it.
ORWELL'S WALLINGTON ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY
A GIFT FIT FOR A QUEEN
ESCAPE TO ORWELL'S BARNHILL
POSTCARD FROM ORWELL'S JURA
1984 CHERISHED BOOK COVERS
SONIA'S FLAT & ORWELL'S HOSPITAL
ORWELL'S MANUSCRIPT OF 1984
VISITING ORWELL'S BARNHILL
JOURNEY TO ORWELL'S JURA
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