The full sentence is as follows.

Imagined only as Orwell could, this powerful fable is instilled with humour and an underlying urgency that makes this one of the most prescient warnings ever written.

This is written in an introduction of Orwell's best known novel, 1984, on the website of one of its publishers, and it is difficult to understand what the sentence mean by this. Please teach me the correct interpretation of it and how it grammatically works.

  • 2
    "This fable is so well imagined, as only Orwell could (imagine it)." This sentence speaks about the uniqueness of this fable.
    – fev
    Feb 5, 2021 at 13:35
  • I see. Thank you for your comment!
    – Ampan
    Feb 5, 2021 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


What part don't you understand?

"Imagined as only Orwell could ..." No one else could have imagined this story the same way that Orwell did. That is, Orwell, was very creative and original in coming up with this story, or this way to tell such a story.

"... this powerful fable ..." A "fable" is a story with some kind of message or moral to it. So the writer is saying that "1984" is a story with a message. A statement that I'm sure that anyone who has read the book would agree with. And it's not some weak, silly fable, it's a "powerful fable".

"... is instilled with humour ..." It includes amusing incidents. It's been a while since I read 1984, I don't recall it having any humor, but maybe I'm just forgetting.

"... and an underlying urgency that makes this one of the most prescient warnings ever given." The story is "prescient", that is, it predicts something that will or might happen. It's a "warning". It's not predicting something good; it's predicting something bad. And it has "urgency". It's not warning of some danger that might happen hundreds of years from now; it's something that might happen very soon.

  • 1
    You have silently (and perhaps unconsciously) amended the publisher's text: they wrote "Imagined only as Orwell could", with "only" before "as"; you've corrected it to "Imagined as only Orwell could", which is probably easier for the OP to understand. ( penguin.co.uk/books/111/1111280/animal-farm/9781784876579.html )
    – rjpond
    Feb 5, 2021 at 16:24
  • 1
    @rjpond Oops, you're right. I was reading, scrolling down, and retyping. I should have cut and pasted.
    – Jay
    Feb 5, 2021 at 18:26

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