1984 by George Orwell (Signet 26th Printing)

1984 by George Orwell (Signet 26th Printing)

First published in 1949, 1984 is a dystopian classic by English author George Orwell. Set in the then-futuristic year of 1984, the novel tells the tale of a world plagued by government surveillance and propaganda. Orwell was inspired to write the novel after the Tehran Conference, a strategy meeting between Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill.

1984 coined a number of terms and concepts that are still in wide use today, such as “doublethink,” “thought crime,” and “Big Brother.” The word “Orwellian,” which is derived from Orwell’s surname, is also a frequently-used adjective. The novel is often compared to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which was published in 1932. Huxley wrote to Orwell after reading 1984, stating that he now believed future governments would trick people into “loving their servitude.”

1984 by George Orwell (Signet 26th Printing)

This edition of the book was published by Signet as part of their New American Library in 1962. The cover, which is unsigned and uncredited, was originally created for the 24th printing of the book in 1961.
This particular edition is the 26th printing, and this same cover was used for later printings as well. It contains an afterward essay by sociologist Erich Fromm.

In the afterward, Fromm states that 1984 “is a warning.” He urges readers not to smugly view the book as a “depiction of Stalinist barbarianism” and to instead look at the ways in which the novel reflects their societies. Fromm later wrote an additional essay that was published alongside Signet’s 1977 re-print of the book.

1984 by George Orwell

As you can see in the image above, the running man icon was also used on the spine of the novel, even on subsequent editions where the icon is no longer featured on the front cover.