Time Essay: Orwell 25 Years Later: Future Imperfect

"Eric Blair" suits him. The crisp syllables suggest a Briton of spare style and countenance. But he despised his real name; it smacked, somehow, of Aryanism and privilege. So he cloaked his origins in a common-sounding nom de plume. His disguise became him, and at last he became his disguise. Today the world remembers him only as George Orwell, seer of the future imperfect. Neither name nor reputation is quite correct.

Now, 25 years after his death at 46, Orwell is enshrined in the language as a cliché for apocalypse. Virtually every doomsday prophecy uses "Orwellian" to describe any impingement on freedom,...

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