Due to many crises in his personal life, including the sudden and devastating loss of his first wife, Eileen, and his increasingly fragile health, it took Orwell more than five years to create his final work. As such, the nature of the manuscript reflects the highly unusual conditions in which it was written, taking the form of a very curious piece of work: incomplete, chaotic and oddly provisional.
The manuscript published by SP Books features a foreword written by Orwell biographer DJ Taylor who is set to publish a new biography in 2023. “The manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four is a very curious piece of work: incomplete, chaotic and oddly provisional. As such, it reflects the highly unusual conditions in which it was written’ says Taylor.
After Orwell’s death, his widow Sonia visited his last home on the Hebridean island of Jura where she found a stack of documents which she identified as the 1984 manuscript. She donated it to a charity auction in London on June 11, 1952. The manuscript was purchased by Scribner's of New York, then sold to bookseller and rare book collector Daniel G. Siegel in June 1969. In 1992, Mr. Siegel gave the manuscript to the Brown University Library (Providence, USA).