Huxley, Aldous. (1932, 2007). Brave New World. Vintage Canada Edition; Toronto.
I don’t feel properly qualified or deeply knowledgeable enough about the enigma that was Aldous Huxley and his famous work, Brave New World, to speak with any degree of expertise in this post. All I can do is vigorously recommend to the reader that this is a valuable investment of their time, a book that they simply cannot miss reading through and reflecting upon.
Aldous was inspired to write Brave New World after reading novels by H. G. Wells, including A Modern Utopia (1905) and Men Like Gods (1923) (Wikipedia article). The novel is set in a futuristic London and predicts “reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine to profoundly change society” (Wikipedia article). Its overall purpose was to present a frightening future society, and expressed wide-spread societal fears towards “losing individual identity in the fast-paced world of the future” (Wikipedia article). As such, the novel was in the same vein as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and remains very much relevant to this day (Amazon Review, 2014).
Although Aldous was born in southern England, he died in Los Angeles on November 22, 1963 – the same day as President John F. Kennedy’s assassination (Aldous Huxley, 2012). He was known mostly as a novelist and essayist; his family members, however, were scientists by trade – one of his three brothers was an eminent biologist and his grandfather was a controversial naturalist (Aldous Huxley, 2012). At age 14, Aldous lost his mother and suffered from an illness that left him almost blind (Aldous Huxley, 2012). This plays into the memoirs of his second wife, Laura Archera Huxley, who maintained that Aldous’ eyesight varied greatly over the years (Wikipedia article). Aldous also experimented extensively with psychedelic drugs, especially LSD and mescaline (Aldous Huxley, 2012).
Overall, the novel is one worth reading and reflecting on the futurist predictions Aldous wrote about back in the 1930s. His biography and other works mark him as an intriguing and often contradictory individual – making his writings that much more provocative.
You can read the entire Brave New World novel by downloading this PDF document.
Read some of the interpretations about Brave New World and the zany lifestyle of Aldous Huxley on this website. All of the materials on the website are part of the larger coalition known as Humanity+, which looks to develop “knowledge about the science, technology, and social changes of the 21st century”.