Copy of Orwell’s ‘1984’ returned to Oregon library 65 years overdue

1984 book returned Multnomah County Library

It was time.

A Multnomah County Library patron retuned a copy of George Orwell’s “1984” last month — 65 years after the book was due.

The book is showing its age. The canvas cover is worn and stained. The book still had a stamp for the Library Association of Portland. That association was transferred to control of Multnomah County in 1990.

The book came with a note from the returnee.

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“I meant to return this book in 1958 when I (was) about to graduate from PSU, but somehow never got around to doing it.

After re-reading, I realize that, more than ever, this book should be put back into circulation. Significant parts are as relevant today as they were 65 years ago. (e.g. the opening text on page 207: Simply adding the words internet and social media, and you are reading about 2023.)”

“Sorry to be so tardy. At age 86, I wanted to clear my conscience.”

It was signed WP.

“1984” is a dystopian science fiction novel published in 1949. It’s about a society ruled by the leader “Big Brother” under a cult of personality. Those living in this world are under constant video and audio surveillance. Those who don’t conform are brutally punished or disappear altogether.


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