Thursday, April 03, 2014

QotD: "Minitrue ... was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up..." @GeorgeOrwell

2014.02.26-IMG_9544Hidden behind the bare trees is none other than Orwell's Minitrue, or The Ministry of Truth. In reality, the building is Senate House, part of the University of London. In Orwell's time, it was the second tallest building in London and must have been even more striking at the time. At the time of this picture, it was late February and I was visiting London for a variety of reasons and passed by after a stop off at the British Library.

Here's more of Orwell on Minitrue:
"Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer; though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing. A kilometer away the Ministry of Truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape.... The Ministry of Truth—Minitrue, in Newspeak—was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, three hundred meters into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked out on its white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party:
WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
The Ministry of Truth contained, it was said, three thousand rooms above ground level, and corresponding ramifications below. Scattered about London there were just three other buildings of similar appearance and size. So completely did they dwarf the surrounding architecture that from the roof of Victory Mansions you could see all four of them simultaneously. They were the homes of the four Ministries between which the entire apparatus of government was divided: the Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts; the Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war; the Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order; and the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs. Their names, in Newspeak: Minitrue, Minipax, Miniluv, and Miniplenty." -- George Orwell, 1984 (1948)

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