Aldous Huxley


This article is to give you a brief overview of Huxleys life.
My goal was to present the main events in just a view words as part of my presentation given to the English Course at the INSA in December '98


July 26, 1894 born into a family that included some of the most distinguished members of that part of the English ruling Class made up of the intellectual elite.
Father son of Thomas Henry Huxley - great biologist theory of evolution with Darwin.
Mother sister of Mrs. Humpfrey Ward, novelist
nice of Methew Arnold, poet
granddaughter of Thomas Arnold, real life headmaster of Rugby School
and Upbringing
effect on his work

 Gerald Herd, longtime friend: Huxleys ancestry "brought down on him a weight of intellectual authority and a momentum of moral obligations"

Brave New World

  • evidence of embivalent attitude towards such authority assumed by he ruling class
  • like England of his days BNW rigid class structure and even stronger than England's, cause 

  • biologically and chemically engineered and 
    psychologically conditioned.
own experiences standing apart form class into which he was born
small child
  • considered different

  • alertness 
  • brother:

  • "superiority"
respected and loved

Brave New World
  • Helmholtz Watson
  • Bernhard Marx
cause different

Huxley feels that heredity made each individual unique
14 years old
Mother died
sense of transience of human happiness

you can see the influence of his loss in Brave New World


  • deny unpleasantness of death

  • find perpetual happiness 
    • cost great: by denying themselves unpleasant experiences denying pleasant as well
  • happiness: drug soma, making love, Obstacle Golf --> essantially shallow
Savages (of the reservation) 
  • poor
  • dirty
  • ills of old age, painfull death

  • blessed with happiness (still transient, but deeper and more real) 
16 years old
eye illness,
nearly blind
learns Brialle 

recovers some vision

  • Oxford University - with honours
  • scientific work - no
idea of vision
  • early novels --> ideal for motion pictures
  • later: screen writer
1916 first book, collection of poems
Maria Nys, Belgian
1920 son
(their only child)
Metthew Huxley
Italy, France, India 
  • "+": confidence, vitality, "generous extravagance"
  • "-": way vitality is expressed 
    • public amusement
    • dancing, motoring
    Huxley: "all movement and noise like the water gurgling out of a bath down the waste. Yes, down the waste" 
Brave New World
written in 4 months 
3 years after his bestseller Point Counter Point

important: before Hitler, Stalin, worldwar 2 

(Orwell 1984 written much later, in 1948 

moves to United Staates


California one of his novels caricatures what he sees as the strange life there
After many a summer dies the swan
(Jo Stoye, immortal, scientific experiments &st==> giving up humnity --> animal state)
1946 forword to Brave New World
  • he says, he no longer wants to make social sanity an impossiblity (as in BNW). 

  • this, after death of millions of people during the war and the atomic bomb invented
  • convinced that while still "rather rare", sanity could be achieved. 



    The Perennial Philosophy
    collection of texts with his own commentaries on mystical and religious approaches to sane life in a sane society. 


Brave New World Revisited

Set of essays on real life problems
  • overpopulation
  • overorganisation
  • psychological techn. 
    • salesmanship
    • hypnopedia
    • sleep teaching
he wants to warn people by showing them instruments the gouvernment can abuse to deprive people of freedom
interest in drugs
  • psychedelic drugs
  • mindexpanding drugs
like mescaline and LSD. 

Takes them several times under the supervision of a medicin. 

  • allow escape from the self (?)
  • physically and socially harmless
Doors of Perception (1954) 
antidote to Brave New World
- a good utopia 
soma --> a perfected version of LSD 
people of Island in religious way. 
Interests Huge range of interests. The preparation for Island included research in the following areas: 
  • Greek history
  • Polynesian anthropologie
  • translations from sanscrit
  • Buddhist test's
  • Scientific papers on 
    • pharmaology
    • neurophysiology
    • psychology
    • education
  • novels, poems, critical essays, travel books
dies 1963 Remains nearly blind all his life. Dies in 1963