From 1984 to One-Dimensional Man: Critical Reflections on Orwell and Marcuse

Abstract

Occasionally literary and philosophical metaphors and images enter the domain of popular discourse and consciousness. Images in Uncle Tom ' s Cabin of humane and oppressed blacks contrasted to inhumane slave owners and overseers shaped many people ' s negative images of slavery. And in nineteenth century Russia, Chernyshevsky ' s novel What is to be Done? shaped a generation of young Russian ' s views of oppressive features of their society, including V. I. Lenin who took the question posed by Chernyshevsky ' s novel as the title of one of his early revolutionary treatises. In the twentieth century, George Orwell ' s vision of totalitarian society in his novel 1984 has had a major impact on how many people see, understand, and talk about contemporary social trends. { 1 } Subsequently, Herbert Marcuse ' s analyses and images of a " onedimensional man " in a " one - dimensional society " shaped many young radicals ' ways of seeing and experiencing life in advanced capitalist society during the 1960s and 1970s -- though to a more limited extent and within more restricted circles than Orwell ' s writings which are among the most widely read and discussed works of the century

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