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"Abortion, wild sexual fantasies, lesbianism, sexual molestation and sexspionage
are all parts of Newman's reinvention of 1984."


To Orwell Today Readers,

Around the same time as feminist-written WIFEDOM hit the presses (blaming a philandering Orwell for indirectly causing his wife's death from overwork and neglect) Orwell's estate (for who knows what reason) commissioned a feminist re-write of 1984. Here's a review from the London Guardian:

OrwellApprove1 OrwellApprove2

"The estate of George Orwell has approved a feminist retelling of Nineteen Eighty-Four, which reimagines the story from the perspective of Winston Smith's lover Julia... In JULIA by Sandra Newman, the incidents of Nineteen Eighty-Four are seen through the woman's eyes... Publisher Granta said that Julia understands the world of Oceania "far better than Winston and is essentially happy with her life"...

"Orwell's estate said it had been "looking for some time" for an author to tell the story of Smith's lover, and that Newman, who has previously been longlisted for the Women's prize and shortlisted for the Guardian first book award, "proved to be the perfect fit"... Granta added that "Richard Blair, Orwell's son, has been consulted and approves of the project"... Sandra gets under the skin of Big Brother's world in a completely convincing way which is both true to the original but also gives a dramatically different narrative to stand alongside the original", said the estate's literary executor Bill Hamilton... "The millions of readers who have been brought up with Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four will find this a provocative and satisfying companion".... Julia will be published after Granta releases Newman's new novel THE MEN -- in which every single person with a Y chromosome vanishes from the world... It is the latest in a series of feminist retellings of classic stories...."

~ end quoting Orwell's estate approving 1984 re-telling ~

In an intervierw with THE ORWELL FOUNDATION the author of JULIA summed up the premise of her book:

FeministRetelling1   ReministRetelling2   FeministRetelling3

"A few years ago, I was invited by the estate of George Orwell to write a retelling of Nineteen Eighty-Four from the point of view of Julia, the lover of the protagonist, Winston Smith. The estate itself wouldn't be paying me to do this, but their endorsement more or less ensured that it would be published and find a readership...

"Misogyny runs through the book, both as a theme and as a nasty background smell. We're told Winston "disliked nearly all women," and that "it was always the women, and especially the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers-out of unorthodoxy." Any hint of feminism is seen as totalitarian... Freedom for Winston is speaking the truth; freedom for Julia is putting on scent and showing herself to her boyfriend in a pretty frock. As their affair progresses, Julia loses her independence and moulds herself to Winston's desires until she is agreeing to die and kill for his political beliefs, even though they are meaningless to her... Meanwhile, we're told Winston loves Julia, even as he constantly expresses contempt for her mental capacities and character, and doesn't even feel any concern for her safety. He drags her along to his meeting with O'Brien although there's no reason to take that risk; in his cell at Love, he suffers not at all from the knowledge that his great love is being tortured. In the climactic betrayal of the book, he saves himself from the rats by crying, "Do it to Julia, not to me!" but neither Winston nor Orwell spares a thought for what happens to Julia next...

"To make a long story short, despite all the bleakness of the material, working on this book was an inexhaustible pleasure. And while the experience only deepened my view that Nineteen Eighty-Four is a work with misogyny built into it, I'm also more firmly convinced of the genius of its writer. I was once inclined to the common view that, while Orwell was a great writer of nonfiction, he wasn't a natural fiction writer, and Nineteen Eighty-Four was really an essay masquerading as a novel. But again and again, I was amazed by the deftness of Orwell's plot or the incisiveness of his characterization. In a satire, however serious, most characters tend to be a little two-dimensional, written as they are to demonstrate a point. But Orwell manages to show us the ugliest features of types like Ampleforth and Parsons while also making us feel their pain and terror and humiliation and loneliness. In conclusion, I would love to be able to say it's not true that Orwell was a misogynist; that I've seen through it all, and there's nothing in it. But that is wishful thinking. Sexism, both his and his time's, permeates Nineteen Eighty-Four. Failing that, I'd like to be able to say it doesn't really matter. But I can't say that, and neither, I think, would Orwell. If he believed in anything, it was in the power of art as propaganda; to him, it always mattered what art said. And I've met too many woman this year who remember their reading of Nineteen Eighty-Four as an insult or an ordeal, as a time when a great man told them they belonged in a servant role, that their dreams were unnatural delusions, and their pain and ideas had no importance. Great writing makes us believe in it completely; when it treats some people as less than fully human, it can do real harm. So Nineteen Eighty-Four is both gravely flawed and desperately important. In offering another view of Julia, and how women fit into Orwell's vision, I'm hoping my novel can do something to bridge that gap."

~ end quoting Newman on JULIA ~

As with WIFEDOM, I haven't read JULIA and don't intend to due to lack of interest and time. But I've watched the author being interviewed and read samplings of reviews in major and minor newspapers, magazines and literary journals, so widely promoted has the book been.

I'm not a feminist (I married a man and have only sons) and am more inclinded to defend boys and men than jump on the bandwagon attacking them based on gender. Afterall, it was while at college in my 40s -- and being persecuted for political incorrectness (or "unorthodoxy") by female instructors -- that I was reminded of how Orwell described women in 1984. From the ashes of that 'wokeism' experience rose the pheonix ORWELL TODAY. See MY ORWELL CONVERSION on my bio page.

Recently, on the Home Page I posted old articles on Winston's love affair with Julia, and suggest people watch the 1956 movie of 1984 which, imho, accurately portrays it:

watch 1984 MOVIE 1956 VERSION listen
1984movieFront 1984movieDisc 1984CoverBack
& 30.Love Instinct/Family & 31.Love Nest
& 34.Ministry of Love (Torture) & 44.Room 101
Room101 Room101Winston

Over the years I've had deep conversations with readers discussing all aspects of Winston's relationship with Julia and most everyone agrees that 1984 is a love story, not a hate story.

All the best,
Jackie Jura, February 2024

...cont'd at ORWELL'S EILEEN'S JULIA IN 1984

PS - At the local bookstore the clerk said JULIA shows on the computer under Julia and 1984 because it has 1984 on the cover in two places, ie huge numerals blending with the name JULIA, and in smaller, hard to notice subtitle: A RETELLING OF GEORGE ORWELL'S 1984. It seems to be pinning all its hopes for big sales by association with Orwell and cashing in on his name. When the ORWELL SOCIETY hired the author to write it, they said they wouldn't pay her, but they'd push the book heavily. It's a novel, as it says on the cover, and is filed under FICTION in the store. I didn't buy a copy.

FictionShelfJulia    BioShelfWifedom

I spoke too soon when I assumed both books were under FICTION at the bookstore when in fact only JULIA is. WIFEDOM is under BIOGRAPHY as I discovered when looking for it, photos above.

PS2 - In the literary reviews of me-too book JULIA it's emphasized that the ORWELL SOCIETY wanted a book written from the feminist point-of-view and went looking for a feminist author to write it. I was baffled, at first, as to why they would want to do this but, upon researching, it seems perhaps they're adherents advancing a Marxist feminist agenda (what Orwell warned us about in 1984 and WIGAN PIER). Here from ORWELL SOCIETY is a recent interview with the author of a leftist treatise: GEORGE ORWELL & THE RADICAL ECCENTRICS: INTERMODERNISM IN LITERARY LONDON published 20 years ago in 2004. In this interview I recognize the source for some of the slanders expressed by FUNDER and NEWMAN in their fantasy lie-ographies:

OrwellFeminismTalk watch GEORGE TALK with Kristin Bluemel (university professor of feminist studies), April 10, 2022
start at 39-minutes: "...Orwell's readers, whether conservative or socialist, liberal or leftist, feminist or non feminist, testify to the appeal of his purportedly transcendent and transparent values of human decency.... The conservative pre-occupation we associate with Orwell's best and sometimes most sexist writing, a commitment to family life, to the idea of nationhood... Feminist readers of Orwell's literature may be more attuned than other kinds of readers to the over-determined gender... They may ask what is an honest woman if we find her most easily and frequently in the idiomatic phrase "to make an honest woman of her". This made or manufactured honest woman is understood through her opposite -- the dishonest woman who is undisciplined, disreputable and above all sexually insubordinate. A woman who aspires to be honest may be one who undertakes to tell the truth, even awkward and uncomfortable feminist truths. But in doing so she is also always confronting the idiomatic honest woman who has agreed to conform to laws of church and state by ordering her heterosexual alliance through marriage. Similarily a decent woman is never too far away from her opposite, the indecent woman. The indecent woman is by definition a too sexual woman, a too revealed and thus too honest woman. She is subject to gendered etymology of the word 'feminist' that reserves synonyms of distaste, immodesty, unbecoming and unseemly for women and the more hearty, and at times comically loveable symptoms of improper, vulgar, offending against good taste for men... Eileen O'Shaughnessey, for example, would be recognized as indecent....

"In some ways we can best see feminism's impact on Orwell studies in the changing approaches and concerns of men doing 21st century research on Orwell... Here most recently is Richard Lance Keeble introducing his edited collection, ORWELL TODAY: "...Let us be clear; Orwell was far from being a saint nor the entirely decent chap he is constantly portrayed as. His attitudes to women were indeed pretty dodgy. And his constant affairs during his marriage may well have contributed to the sudden death of his wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy in 1945 from a broken heart'....Feminist research scholars can also look to DJ Taylor whose LOST GIRLS: LOVE, WAR & LITERATURE -- a collective biography of the women who work for Cyril Connoly [Orwell friend at prep-school & Eton] in the wartime offices of HORIZON -- demonstrates what Orwell, or rather Orwell biographers, can do for feminism. Taylor's touch is light, humorous and engaging. His 21st century research on the women -- Sonja Bronwell [second wife of Orwell] among them -- who Orwell in some ways envied and in obvious ways desired -- and it [Taylor's book] deserves to be read... These books provide compelling answers to the question 'What can Orwell do for feminism and what can feminism do for Orwell?'... With DJ Taylor's light approach to understanding Orwell and his literary culture we can better ourselves understand how a man who defended honesty, decency and truth in the name of the empires of the nation's poor and oppressed workers -- a man who defied injustices, imperialism, capitalism and totalitarianisms of all stripes [notice she doesn't mention communism~jj] -- could hold fast to notoriously conservative views on gender and obscene attitudes toward contraception, birth control and abortion and an ideology based on gender polarization that assumes male centrality and superiority...."

PS3 - In the above I was surprised to hear the harsh condemnation of Orwell by ORWELL SOCIETY patron Keeble whose publicist contacted me 12 years ago promoting the book. I was a bit miffed he gave it the same name as my website:

BkOrwellTodayName ORWELL TODAY BOOK NOT WEBSITE (...I guess there's a bit of misunderstanding on my part, ie where you say you influenced the publication of the book, I assumed you influenced naming the book as well, ie ORWELL TODAY. In fact, you say you were unaware it had the same name as my website which, actually, had been in existence for eleven years before your publication... There's no ill-will -- it's all good ~jj)

PS4 - Actually, I shouldn't have been surprised at the ORWELL SOCIETY's positive attitude toward the feminist perspective because their member, Keeble -- who plagiarized my ORWELL TODAY website name as the title of his book -- was the first to label Orwell a mysogynist and other unflattering attributes that the authors of WIFEDOM and JULIA plagiarized almost verbatim. Here's an article published on ORWELL SOCIETY in 2012:

OrwellHardlySaint The cultural icon of today -- 'Orwell Today', by Orwell Society, July 21, 2012
...Let us be clear: Orwell was far from being a saint nor the entirely decent chap he is constantly portrayed as. There was a sadistic, misogynistic, permanent public school boy side to his personality. His attitudes to women were, indeed, pretty dodgy: and his constant affairs during his marriage may well have contributed to the sudden death of his wife, Eileen O'Shaughnessy, in 1945 from a broken heart....

PS5 - DJ Taylor has written several books about Orwell -- the first in 2003 for the 100th anniversary of Orwell's birth:

...I listened on-line to the George Orwell segment of the BBC radio program GREAT LIVES and my negative opinion of the biography by D.J. Taylor was reinforced. He seems to be the establishment's chosen Orwell authority but in my opinion he is NOT the be-all and end-all of Orwell biographers. Actually, I haven't read his book ORWELL: THE LIFE and wasn't intending to after reading excerpts of it last year when it came out in time for Orwell's centennial. He struck me as a person who is opposed to Orwell. Some of the things Taylor says about Orwell aren't true and seem to be an attempt to discredit him. In the interview he more or less accuses Orwell of lying about his down and out experiences and he ascribes totalitarian characteristics to Orwell that aren't founded. He goes beyond proof in interpreting Orwell's thoughts, actions, motives and attributes and comes across biased against Orwell. It's like he's trying to convince people that Orwell wasn't as good and honest a man as he has previously been portrayed...

PS6 - Julia: A New Feminist Re-Telling of 1984, New York Times, Oct 24, 2023
...Authorized by the Orwell Estate, "Julia", by Sandra Newman, is at its most compelling in its exploration of the grim reality of women's lives under an authoritarian patriarchal regime. A few chapters in, Julia is summoned to repair a blocked toilet in her hostel, only to find the blockage is a bloody, misshapen fetus. It was unknowingly aborted by Vicky, the teenage "baby" of the hostel, who works for a Central Committee Chairperson. That chairperson sexually assaulted her and impregnated her, and afterward, she dutifully took the "anti-Sex" pills he arranged for her when she started to show. But Vicky does not understand what has happened to her; the Party has robbed her of knowledge, and with it, bodily autonomy. Julia, we are repeatedly told, loves to have sex. As a child she had sexual fantasies of Big Brother, and as an adult, she is approached to work for the thoughtpolice as a honey trap... Go to WHERE HAVE ALL OUR CHILDREN GONE?

JuliaBook After the rats in Room 101, what happened to Julia in 1984?, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 5, 2024
...Meanwhile, the Orwell estate began searching for someone to write Julia's story and commissioned Sandra Newman, previously longlisted for the Women's Prize, who accepted their offer, describing it as a dream job... Newman creates a vibrant inner life for Julia and with it a fresh perspective on what it might be like to live as a woman in a totalitarian dictatorship. Abortion, wild sexual fantasies, lesbianism, sexual molestation and sexspionage are all parts of Newman's reinvention. Historically, the most common abuse suffered by women during Stalin's collectivisation and purges was violent rape, but when Newman's teenage Julia is molested by a much older party member (a Plentyman in charge of agricultural collectivisation) she willingly exchanges her body for food and information and thereby ensures she survives the famine... In one scene Julia confides she fantasises about having sex with Big Brother... While Julia enjoys voyeuristic pornographic sex with men, she can never truly love them, because beneath all the rubbing, juicing and performing for the telescreens Julia nurses a secret passion for her fellow at the women's hostel, Vicky...

PS7 - Here, compiled in a book, are articles I wrote defending Orwell from mis-interpretation and personal attack:







JULIA'S FATE (reader wonders about Party doctrine on Julia's kind of thinking)


...You're correct that Orwell wasn't "sexually liberal" (meaning pro-abortion, pro-pornography, pro-homosexuality etc) and no, he didn't ever change his attitude. In "1984", written at the end of his life, he described sexual perversion as a tool of totalitarian government -- the Party, Big Brother -- to destroy individuals, families and ultimately society... The only kind of sex allowed under Big Brother was that based on "debauchery" and without committment, love or responsibility... Orwell's description of the normal sexual relationship between Winston and Julia - and the bond it formed - was symbolic of their defiance against the government, the Party, Big Brother and its "anti-sex" policies...

...You say the sex scenes from 1984 were probably too risque for the first movie but actually there are no sex scenes in the book, just the leading up to and then the after effects. Orwell didn't like books that went into sexual detail, a phenomenon he'd started noticing in books he was reviewing in the late 1940s. He considered it hedonistic. Orwell was a very decent man and although he wasn't a prude he knew the difference between passion and pornography. Passion he loved, pornography he hated. Privacy he cherished...

For more in-depth study of the relationship between Winston and Julia go to: 26.Rebellion & 30.Love Instinct & Family & 31.Love Nest & 32.Enemies of the Party & 37.Betrayal & 43.Winston Talks In Sleep & 45.Chestnut Tree Cafe

Jackie Jura answers question: "Does Winston die after torture? and WHO CONTROLS WINSTON'S MIND?

Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~

email: orwelltoday@gmail.com
website: www.orwelltoday.com