05/26/2012

Aldous Huxley

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Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. Best known for his novels including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, Huxley also edited the magazine Oxford Poetry, and published short stories, poetry, travel writing, film stories and scripts. Huxley spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death.

During the First World War, Huxley spent much of his time at Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, working as a farm labourer. Here he met several Bloomsbury figures including Bertrand Russell and Clive Bell. Later, in Crome Yellow (1921) he caricatured the Garsington lifestyle. In 1919 he married Maria Nys, a Belgian woman he met at Garsington; they had one son. The family lived in Italy part of the time in the 1920s, where Huxley would visit his friend D. H. Lawrence. Following Lawrence's death in 1930, Huxley edited Lawrence's letters (1933).

Works of this period included important novels on the dehumanising aspects of scientific progress, most famously Brave New World, and on pacifist themes (for example, Eyeless in Gaza). In Brave New World Huxley portrays a society operating on the principles of mass production and Pavlovian conditioning. Huxley was strongly influenced by F. Matthias Alexander and included him as a character in Eyeless in Gaza.

Starting from this period, Huxley began to write and edit non-fiction works on pacifist issues, including Ends and MeansAn Encyclopedia of Pacifism, and Pacifism and Philosophy, and was an active member of the the Peace Pledge Union.

In 1937, Huxley moved to Hollywood, with his wife Maria, son Matthew, and friend Gerald Heard. He lived in the U.S., mainly in southern California, until his death, but also for a time in Taos, New Mexico, where he wrote Ends and Means (published in 1937). In this work he examines the fact that although most people in modern civilisation agree that they want a world of "liberty, peace, justice, and brotherly love", they have not been able to agree on how to achieve it.

18:13 Posted by Jan Boeykens in Leonard Huxley | Permalink | Comments (0) |  Facebook |