Pariah Rustbucket Reviews…Nineteen Eighty-Four: Lost Chapters in Time

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Lest the reading public labour any further under the misapprehension that George Orwell’s ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is a seminal novel describing a dystopian future with frightening accuracy, in the study ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four: Lost Chapters in Time’, Arthur Scrag-end offers the fruits of ten years dedicated to the scrutiny of what is now conclusively proved to be unpublished draft material that tells quite a different story.

In his tedious Introduction, Scrag-end  delivers his account of how the draft material came to light. Hidden for 40 years in the bowels of the Scunthorpe Public Library, Orwell’s note-books hold within their limp and greasy pages the outline of two chapters for ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ clearly intended for insertion at a key juncture in the novel. Indeed, given the state of the note-books in question, it would seem that they have already been inserted at some key juncture, but thanks to Scrag-end’s tireless scholarship the  novel can finally be reconstructed into something more nearly approaching its original framework.

The draft chapters reveal that, far from being the emblem of some future era, Nineteen Eighty-Four in fact refers to the combination of Orwell’s bicycle lock. Thus, Winston Smith is given an irrational fear of bicycles, which were the intended contents of Room 101 and not, as it was previously thought, rats.

“Winston stared in terror at the two-wheeled contraption. The hellish, inexorable motion of the chain contrived, somehow, to drive the pedals round and round mockingly. Winston whimpered, a childish sound escaping involuntarily from his lips. He remembered a time before Oceania and Eurasia were at war, a time in which there were bicycles, roaming free about the countryside, maiming and injuring unsuspecting pedestrians. He remembered his mother, killed rather unfeasibly by the handlebars of a Penny Farthing.

‘You can stop this, Winston’, said O’Brien. ‘We  are making you better. You are not a well man. We have seen the future. There will be no pedestrian crossings, no enjoyment of the public footpath. All competing transport will be destroyed. But always – remember this, Winston – always there will be the intoxication of power…If you want a picture of the future, imagine a bicycle stamping on a human face…for ever’.”

Scrag-end’s prose style is bland and obtuse, compelling the reader to gouge their eyes out with mechanical pencils. His interpretation of the note-books is at best cack-handed, and one suspects that at times the author may have mistaken the many egg-stains and blotches of Branston Pickle that bespread their pages for something of greater moment. However, this is a study which will no doubt add to the sum of scholarship on the novel, and in its tome-like length ensures that the world is rid of a few more trees that had nothing better to do.

 

‘Nineteen Eighty-Four: Lost Chapters in Time’ (Pp. 1308. £150), and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four: The Variorum Edition’, (Pp. 845. £50) are published by The Coal-Scuttle Press.

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3 Responses to “Pariah Rustbucket Reviews…Nineteen Eighty-Four: Lost Chapters in Time”

  1. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Thus begins the reign of Pariah Rustbucket. Excellent review Pariah.

    Bicycles are pretty evil though. It’s the way those little dynamo lights flash demonically at you like the beastly Cylons of Battlestar Galactica.

  2. Banjo Fett Says:

    I wish my bicycle was a Six.

  3. johnlebaptiste Says:

    Dirty beast. Me too.

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