Bio: An extraordinary man in an extraordinary age, writer Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963) brought to his work a strong sense of the world into which he was born--amid the rarefied privilege of a distinguished English family--transformed by a wicked, probing intelligence and a restless soul.
Huxley's grandfather was the eminent biologist and writer Thomas Huxley, who helped Darwin realize the theory of evolution, and his mother was the niece of the poet Matthew Arnold. (Huxley's brother Julian also became an esteemed writer and their half-brother Andrew won a 1963 Nobel Prize in physiology.) When vision problems dashed his hopes of studying medicine, Huxley turned to writing and became associated with the magazine Aetheneum. He enjoyed success early, poking fun at the pretensions of society in such satirical novels as Crome Yellow and Antic Hay. As a young man, he spent considerable time in the finest intellectual company--Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell--and by his early 30s was one of England's most important new writers. The publication of Brave New World in 1932 signaled a sea-change in Huxley. Maturity brought on a growing interest in political, philosophical and even spiritual matters that informs other novels of ideas such Eyeless in Gaza, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan and Time Must Have a Stop. His friend D.H. Lawrence (Huxley edited his letters in 1932) encouraged his spiritual journey. The concerns he began to express in Brave New World dominated his thinking and most of his work that followed. In 1947, Huxley found a home in southern California, continuing to write probing fiction and essays (plus the occasional film script for MGM) while exploring Eastern religions and, for a brief time, hallucinogenic drugs. In 1958, he was moved to write a despairing sequel, in the form of essays, in Brave New World Revisited. Aldous Huxley died on November 22, 1963, a milestone completely overshadowed by the all-consuming public grief over the assassination of President John F. Kennedy--an irony he might have appreciated.
In the end, it was Aldous Huxley, not George Orwell (whom Huxley taught at Eton), whose vision of the future had the touch of prophecy. The modern world did not collapse into the cold, damp totalitarian hell Orwell described in his 1948 novel 1984. What has happened is closer to Huxley's vision of the future in his astonishing 1931 novel Brave New World--a world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering... more info>>
In 1958, Aldous Huxley wrote what might be called a sequel to his novel Brave New World, published in 1932, but it was a sequel that did not revisit the story or the characters, or re-enter the world of the novel. Instead, he revisited that world in a set of 12 essays. Taking a second look at specific aspects of the future Huxley imagined in Brave New World, Huxley meditated on how his fantasy seemed to be turning into reality, frighteningly and much more quickly than he had ever dreamed. That h... more info>>