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What's Happening

Giugno 2014
The latest movies, books and exhibitions, and some reading suggestions for foreign students.

di Mark Worden


George Orwell's 1984
George Orwell's 1984

George Orwell, 1984

As for a book that would be suitable for foreign readers of English, this month we have chosen George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984. It was first published in 1949 and, even though it was seen as a nightmare vision of the future, the title was in fact a play on 1948.
Orwell (real name Eric Blair) imagined what post-war Britain could be like under a totalitarian regime. He also created a world in which a new device, television, was used for spying on every member of the population (with the slogan “Big Brother is Watching You”).
For an expert opinion we asked another British novelist, Tim Parks, who is based in Italy. He says: “George Orwell is a wonderfully clear writer and 1984 is still a very fine novel to read, both for its content and its language.” He adds: “It’s ironic that the country in which it was set, Britain, is now the one that has the most CCTV cameras in the world! It’s also ironic that the terrifying Big Brother has become the name of a ‘friendly’ TV show!”

The Internet’s Own Boy 

George Orwell died in 1950 (at the age of 46), but he would have approved of Aaron Swartz, who died last year at the age of 26. Swartz was a “Hacktivist” (a combination of “Hacker” and “Activist”): he campaigned to make secret information public on the Internet, and against surveillance. Unfortunately, this made him some powerful enemies. He was arrested and put on trial, and he committed suicide when faced with a massive fine and prison sentence. His brief life is now the subject of a documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, which receives a limited release in the United States this month.

50 Cent - Animal Ambition

In late 2009 rapper 50 Cent released an album called Before I Self-Destruct. Since then he has been silent on the music front, and people have wondered whether the album’s title was in any way prophetic. In actual fact 50 Cent (real name Curtis James Jackson III) has been doing other things, including working as an actor, entrepreneur and boxing promoter.  But now he’s back with a new album, Animal Ambition: An Unnamed Desire to Win (which was released on June 3rd). Rumour has it that another album of previously unreleased material, called Street King Immortal, is coming soon.  

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