An artist is collecting 1,984 copies of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four novel for a display on the Scottish island where it was written.
Hans K Clausen is collecting used copies of the book for an art installation to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its publication. Orwell wrote the dystopian novel on Jura, in the Inner Hebrides, between 1946 and 1948, while living in a cottage with no heating or hot water.
The exhibition, titled The Winston Smith Library Of Victory and Truth, will take place in Jura Village Hall on 8 and 9 June 2024. Orwell, who was known to islanders by his real name Eric Blair, left the island in January 1949 due to severe tuberculosis.
The novel was published in June of that year and went on to become a literary classic.
Edinburgh-based artist Mr Clausen has accumulated 1,200 copies of the book in 20 different languages so far, and is appealing for more donations of “worn and personalised” copies.
Most of the books are annotated and some contain mementoes, including pressed flowers, old bus tickets and sweet wrappers.
Others contain personal and birthday messages, doodles, and names – including a copy from a school library which has a log showing one pupil borrowed the book repeatedly. Mr Clausen, who first read the book aged 16, attended Edinburgh College of Art and has a studio in Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop.
He described the project as “a sort of homecoming for Nineteen Eighty-Four”.
Visitors will be encouraged to take copies from the shelves, explore them and add their own responses so the library continues to evolve.
There will be a 1930s Remington Home Portable typewriter – identical to the one Orwell used – alongside the display, on which visitors will be invited to leave comments.