Orwell letter reveals 1984 almost wasn't called 1984

Contributed by
Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

That game-changing Apple Computer commercial claimed, "You'll see why 1984 won't be like Nineteen Eighty-Four." Well, according to a 1948 letter written by George Orwell when he was just a few weeks away from completing his classic novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four itself almost wasn't Nineteen Eighty-Four either.

When Orwell wrote to his publisher, Frederic Warburg, on Oct. 22, 1948, the book's title was still up in the air:

I am not pleased with the book but I am not absolutely dissatisfied. I first thought of it in 1943. I think it is a good idea but the execution would have been better if I had not written it under the influence of TB. I haven't definitely fixed on the title but I am hesitating between NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR and THE LAST MAN IN EUROPE.

Don't know about you, but we're pleased Orwell stuck with the title we've come to know and love. (Or is that fear?) Besides, a Super Bowl commercial with the tag line "You'll see why 1984 won't be like The Last Man in Europe" just doesn't have the right ring to it.

(via Letters of Note)