Aldous Huxley

Advanced Search

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), English novelist and critic, best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World (1931). Besides novels he published travel books, histories, poems, plays, and essays on philosophy, arts, sociology, religion and morals.

Aldous Huxley was born in Godalming, Surrey on July 26, 1894, into a well-to-do upper-middle-class family. His father, Leonard Huxley, was a biographer, editor, and poet. He first studied at Eton College, Berkshire (1908-13). When Huxley was fourteen his mother died. At the age of 16 Huxley suffered an attack of keratitis punctata and became for a period of about 18 months totally blind. By using special glasses and one eye recovered sufficiently he was able to read and he also learned Braille. Despite a condition of near-blindness, Huxley continued his studies at Balliol College, Oxford (1913-15), receiving his B.A. in English in 1916. Unable to pursue his chosen career as a scientist - or fight in World War on the front - Huxley turned to writing. His first collection of poetry appeared in 1916 and two more volumes followed by 1920.

Huxley's first novel, Crome Yellow (1921), a witty criticism of society, appeared in 1921. Huxley's style, a combination of brilliant dialogue, cynicism, and social criticism, made him one of the most fashionable literary figures of the decade. In eight years he published a dozen books, among them Point Counter Point (1928) and Do What You Will (1929).

During the 1920s Huxley formed a close friendship with D.H. Lawrence with whom he traveled in Italy and France. For most of the 1920s Huxley lived in Italy. In the 1930s he moved to Sanary, near Toulon, where he wrote Brave New World, a dark vision of a highly technological society of the future. In the1930s Huxley was deeply concerned with the Peace Pledge Union. He moved in 1937 with the guru-figure Gerald Heard to the United States, believing that the Californian climate would help his eyesight, a constant burden. After this turning point in his life, Huxley abandoned pure fictional writing and chose the essay as the vehicle for expressing his ideas.

Brave New World Revisited appeared in 1958. Huxley's other later works include The Devils Of Loudon (1952), depicting mass-hysteria and exorcism in the 17th-century France. Island (1962) was an utopian novel and a return to the territory of Brave New World, in which a journalist shipwrecks on Pala, the fabled island, and discovers there a kind and happy people. But the earthly paradise is not immune to the harsh realities of oil policy. In 1963 appeared Literature And Science, a collection of essays.

In 1954 Huxley published an influential study of consciousness expansion through mescaline, The Doors Of Perception and became later a guru among Californian hippies. He also started to use LSD and showed interest in Hindu philosophy. In 1961 Huxley suffered a severe loss when his house and his papers were totally destroyed in a bush-fire. Huxley died in Los Angeles on November 22, 1963.

The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

Recent Forum Posts on Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley

Let's talk about my friend and mentor Aldous Huxley. Doors Of Perception was one of the first books that greatly influenced me. I read that followed by his other essay Heaven and Hell. Such great insight. I read Brave New World and I can truly understand how he see's that as the future. Here especially in America we are willingly giving up our freedom for comfort. I also read Brave New World Revisited and it is striking how he talks of the world in 1956, and the future as he predicts it if we do not change, and how the world is today. A true visionary and a remarkable soul. Please tell me someone else reads Huxley.

Two views of human nature Huxley and Orwell present? I need this ASAP.Social hm help!

Who says you can’t correctly predict the future? Aldous Huxley and George Orwell did. Hear Neil Postman: What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumble-puppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. I need, two views of human nature presented by Huxley and two views of human nature presented by Orwell. Thanks, I need this asap! Social Homework! I wish I was good at social..there so little resources out there on the internet.. Thanks for helping me.

What books/articles/journals ...

What books, journals, or articles discuss Aldous' Huxley's writing. It would help if you could point me in the the right direction. I'm analyzing his use of themes, the change of tone and styles in some of his works.

Contemporary writers that Huxley looked up to

Bertrand Russell might have been one since he did a review of his (Bertrand's book) Which Way to Peace? "The Pacifist Case." The Listener. Alexander Mathias could be another writer given that Huxley reviewed The Universal Constant in Living. Saturday Review of Literature Who are other contemporary writers that Huxley looked up to? D.H Lawrence was a close companion.

Major events that influenced his writing style.

I'm trying to master Huxley's writing style by trying to study the major events that influenced his writing. What are some of the major events in Huxley's life that influenced his writing style? or How did he develop his writing style?

Aldous Huxley's writing style

I often wonder what Aldous Huxley's writing style was. He wrote about many things, many themes in literature. What techniques of his writing can be inferred from his literary works?

Favourite Aldous Huxley Book?

Hi, I'm not well read but I think I'll enjoy changing that. As I was reading the philosophy of Eckhart Tolle, (love him) I saw that he likes Aldous Huxley's book Island. According to him, the book is about a utopia where people are "actually sane." Knowing that he was the writer of Brave New World, i googled him for more information. I found out that Island is sort of Huxley's "anti-BNW." The utopia to complement his distopia. Wiki mentioned that in BNW, the populace is drugged to pacify them and keep them in line, whereas in Island, people sometimes take drugs for self discovery and spiritual purposes. I find the idea of two books by the same author that compare how the same tool can be used for both good and evil to be interesting. Huxley's philosophy looks interesting in general and I'd really like to read these two books together. I was wondering what people around here think of as their favorite by him and why?

Brave New World

What is the nature of male-female relationships in this novel?

The Cicadas

I really want to read Huxley's poem, The Cicadas, but I cannot find it anywhere on the internet. Does someone have it in their possession and is willing to post it for me?

huxley quote

"religion is not the opium of the masses but rather opium is becoming the religion of the masses." so true, so many people put on prescription drugs these days and grow addicted to them. drugs do more to keep the masses docile than religion has. that is why he used "Soma" as the future of drugs in Brave New World, which really just representing this idea. Its hard to start a revolution when your all high.

Post a New Comment/Question on Huxley

Related links for Aldous Huxley

Here is where you find links to related content on this site or other sites, possibly including full books or essays about Aldous Huxley written by other authors featured on this site.

    Sorry, no links available.

Art of Worldly Wisdom Daily
In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
Sonnet-a-Day Newsletter
Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets! Join our Sonnet-A-Day Newsletter and read them all, one at a time.