George Orwell’s 1984 Given Trigger Warning at British University

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    The University of Northampton has branded George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 — which examines how the role of truth and facts in a society can be manipulated under authoritarian rule — with a trigger warning over supposed concerns about “explicit material” within the book.

    Following a Freedom of Information request from the Mail on Sunday, it was discovered that the English department at the University of Northampton had warned students taking the module ‘Identity Under Construction' about Orwell's anti-totalitarianism novel as it might be upsetting or “offensive” to the fragile generation.

    The ‘Identity Under Construction' module is advertised on the University of Northampton's website as including the study of literature and poetry through a lens of “feminism, postmodernism and postcolonialism” and has a “primary focus” on the “constructions of identity, around issues such as race, class, gender and sexuality”.

    Speaking to Breitbart London, former teacher turned GB News Host Calvin Robinson branded the trigger warning placed on 1984 as “absurd”.

    1984 was supposed to be a piece of fiction, but in current times it reads more like an instruction manual. There's no wonder the upper echelons of society are trying to censor it”, Robinson said.

    “Universities have lost their collective minds. One's time as a student is supposed to be a time of exploration and open debate – these days, it seems, they want to wrap everyone up in cotton wool and ‘protect' them from different/offensive opinions. It's absurd”, he continued.

    Orwell is not the only author to be censored at the University of Northampton. The British graphic novel V For Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, the Samuel Beckett play Endgame and Jeanette Winterson's Sexing The Cherry, have also been found to be “offensive and upsetting” by the university's English department.

    Additionally, the 2003 novel The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-Time by Mark Haddon has been given a “death of an animal, ableism and disability and offensive language” trigger warning by Northampton's English department.

    Alongside their “absurd” woke censoring, the university offers “diversity studentships” in which interested individuals can apply for funding to study literature that focuses on “diversity”, “black women's writing”, “working-class fiction” and “LGBTQ+ representation”.

    Defending the move, a spokesman for the university said: “While it is not university policy, we may warn students of content in relation to violence, sexual violence, domestic abuse and suicide. In these circumstances, we explain to applicants as part of the recruitment process that their course will include some challenging texts. This is reinforced by tutors as they progress through their programme of studies.

    “We are aware some texts might be challenging for some students and have accounted for this when developing our courses.”

    The University of Northampton is not the first British institution to attempt to censor George Orwell's work. In 2020 the British Library placed Orwell on a “shame” list because one of his great-grandfathers owned slaves in the Caribbean, despite the fact that Orwell was an avid anti-imperialist who repeatedly called out totalitarianism in his works.

    The British Library apparently attempted to tarnish Orwell's work by labelling it as “associated with wealth obtained from enslaved people or through colonial violence”. Yet, Orwell did not own any slaves himself, nor have any association with the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, which was outlawed in 1807, almost a hundred years before the British novelist was born.

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