In his edition of the Collected Works (20 volumes), Peter Davison notes that Orwell's American publisher claimed that the title derived from reversing the date, 1948, though there's no documentary evidence for this. Davison also argues that the date 1984 is linked to the year of Richard Blair's birth, 1944, and notes that in the manuscript of the novel, the narrative occurs, successively, in 1980, 1982 and finally, 1984. There's no mystery about the decision to abandon "The Last Man in Europe". Orwell himself was always unsure of it. It was his publisher, Fred Warburg who suggested that Nineteen Eighty-Four was a more commercial title.
We are right to think of Swift as a rebel and iconoclast, but except in certain secondary matters, such as his insistence that women should receive the same education as men, he cannot be labelled ‘Left’. He is a Tory anarchist, despising authority while disbelieving in liberty, and preserving the aristocratic outlook while seeing clearly that the existing aristocracy is degenerate and contemptible. When Swift utters one of his characteristic diatribes against the rich and powerful, one must probably, as I said earlier, write off something for the fact that he himself belonged to the less successful party, and was personally disappointed. The ‘outs’, for obvious reasons, are always more radical than the ‘ins’ (4) . But the most essential thing in Swift is his inability to believe that life — ordinary life on the solid earth, and not some rationalized, deodorized version of it — could be made worth living. Of course, no honest person claims that happiness is now a normal condition among adult human beings; but perhaps it could be made normal, and it is upon this question that all serious political controversy really turns. Swift has much in common — more, I believe, than has been noticed — with Tolstoy, another disbeliever in the possibility of happiness. In both men you have the same anarchistic outlook covering an authoritarian cast of mind; in both a similar hostility to Science, the same impatience with opponents, the same inability to see the importance of any question not interesting to themselves ; and in both cases a sort of horror of the actual process of life, though in Tolstoy's case it was arrived at later and in a different way. The sexual unhappiness of the two men was not of the same kind, but there was this in common, that in both of them a sincere loathing was mixed up with a morbid fascination. Tolstoy was a reformed rake who ended by preaching complete celibacy, while continuing to practise the opposite into extreme old age. Swift was presumably impotent, and had an exaggerated horror of human dung: he also thought about it incessantly, as is evident throughout his works. Such people are not likely to enjoy even the small amount of happiness that falls to most human beings, and, from obvious motives, are not likely to admit that earthly life is capable of much improvement. Their incuriosity, and hence their intolerance, spring from the same root.