Aldous Huxley Additional Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

After studying literature at Oxford University, Aldous Huxley began writing for the magazine Athenaeum in London and also reviewing plays for the Westminster Gazette in 1919. By 1921, having already published four volumes of verse, Huxley embarked on a career as a free-lance writer. His early novels Chrome Yellow (1921), Antic Hay (1923), and Point Counter Point (1928), depictions of social decadence, began to establish his reputation; Brave New World (1932) confirmed it.

Brave New World has remained his most widely read work. A portrayal of a nightmarish twenty-fifth century dystopia, the novel presents a world in which technology seduces people into becoming willing automatons by providing them with creature comforts and drug-induced happiness. Genetic engineering, meanwhile, produces appropriate numbers of people with appropriate levels of intelligence to fill the requirements of society, thereby eliminating the potential for rebellion as well as such individual virtues as creativity, bravery, and fidelity. It was not, however, the novel’s horrific description of technology but its portrayal of sexual freedom and drug use that led to Brave New World being banned from some school curricula and many libraries.

Huxley’s later work developed these themes while also introducing new ones. Ape and Essence (1948) offers a vision of a future dominated by savage individualism, as the survivors of an atomic holocaust struggle to live on; it, too, is a future ravaged by technology. With Eyeless in Gaza (1936), Huxley began to advocate a philosophy of mysticism, and he pursued this view for much of the rest of his life. Following his move to California in 1937 for reasons of health, he wrote Gray Eminence (1941), a study of a sixteenth century priest who had to choose between a life of reclusive meditation and calls to serve the political interests of the French crown. Huxley later suggested in The Doors of Perception (1954) that the use of psychoactive drugs might be a shortcut to mystical experience. His advocacy of drugs made him a favorite of the youth culture of the 1960’s and won for him a place among those pictured on the cover of the Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). During the 1960’s, The Doors of Perception was banned from some school districts’ reading lists.


(Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, in Godalming, Surrey, to a family with eminent intellectual credentials in both the arts and the sciences. Often cited by critics are elements in Huxley’s work related to Huxley’s genealogical connections with science on one hand and the liberal arts on the other. His scientific connections came through his paternal grandfather, T. H. Huxley, an eminent biologist, and his elder brother, Julian Huxley, also an eminent biologist, while his liberal arts connections came through his mother’s relation to the important literary critic, poet, essayist, and moralist, Matthew Arnold.

Huxley was educated at Hillside School, Eton, and Balliol College, Oxford University; Oxford University serves as the background of some of Huxley’s short stories, such as “Happily Ever After” and “Cynthia.” Huxley’s early serious eye ailment, which abated after almost resulting in blindness and an end to his education, is partly reflected in his treasuring of the visual arts and classical music, which are constantly referred to in both his nonfiction and fiction. During World War I, which is referred to in many of his short stories, Huxley was exempted from military service but did agricultural work (like the protagonist of “Farcial History of Richard Greenow”) in aid of the war effort.

After graduation with an honors degree in English literature from Oxford, Huxley briefly taught school and then...

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(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born at Laleham, near Godalming, Surrey, on July 26, 1894. His father, Leonard Huxley, a biographer and historian, was the son of Thomas Henry Huxley, the great Darwinist, and his mother, Julia, was the niece of poet Matthew Arnold. Julian Huxley, Aldous’s older brother, would grow up to become a famous biologist. With this intellectual and literary family background, Huxley entered Eton at the age of fourteen. He had to withdraw from school within two years, however, owing to an attack of keratitis punctata that caused blindness. This event left a permanent mark on his character that was evident in his reflective temperament and detached manner. He learned to read Braille and continued his studies under tutors. As soon as he was able to read with the help of a magnifying glass, he went to Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied English literature and philosophy.

Huxley started his career as a journalist on the editorial staff of The Athenaeum under J. Middleton Murry. He relinquished his journalistic career when he could support himself by his writing. By 1920, he had three volumes of verse and a collection of short stories to his credit. He had also become acquainted with a number of writers, including D. H. Lawrence. While in Italy in the 1920’s, he met Lawrence again, and the two became close friends. Lawrence exercised a profound influence on Huxley, particularly in his distrust of intellect against his faith in blood consciousness. Later, Huxley became a disciple of Gerald Heard and took an active part in Heard’s pacifist movement. In 1937, he moved to California, where he came into contact with the Ramakrishna Mission in Hollywood. In Hinduism and Buddhism, Huxley found the means of liberation from human bondage to the ego, a problem that had concerned him for a long time. To see if the mystical experience could be chemically induced, Huxley took hallucinogenic drugs in 1953, and his subsequent writings concerning such drugs helped to popularize their use.

Huxley married Maria Nys in 1919. After her death in 1955, he married Laura Archera in 1956. On November 22, 1963, Huxley died in Los Angeles, where his body was cremated the same day. There was no funeral, but friends in London held a memorial service the next month.


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, in Laleham, near Godalming, Surrey, England, the third son of Dr. Leonard Huxley, a teacher, editor, and writer, and Julia Arnold, niece of Matthew Arnold and sister of novelist Mrs. Humphrey Ward. Aldous was also the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, a well-known scientist, and the brother of scientist Sir Julian Huxley.

Huxley had planned on a career as a physician, but an affliction with nearly total blindness while studying at Eton altered his plans, and, upon partial recovery three years later, he entered Balliol College, Oxford, and earned a degree in English literature. While Huxley was at Oxford, World War I began, and he was refused enlistment because of his...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

In Brave New World, which describes a future society that seems perfectly orderly, harmonious, and controlled but which is actually depraved, unhappy, and hellish, Aldous Huxley embodies his principal ideas. He also embodies them in Point Counter Point, in a diffuse portrait of imbalanced characters in early twentieth century England.

One of those principal ideas is that humanness and authentic human values involve recognition of and participation in all the dichotomies of human existence: emotion and intellect, mind and body, body and soul, love and hate, self-concern and concern for others. Without that balance and total development, humans are doomed to incomplete, and often tragic, lives. The other principal belief is that modern society is itself unbalanced in its overly scientific and technological orientation, leading to intellect dominating emotion and thus to final tragedy unless drastic adjustments are made. It is that idea that continues to make Huxley’s two great novels tremendously important in solving the problems of today’s world.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Aldous Leonard Huxley, the spokesman of the so-called literary modernists, is one of the best chroniclers of the generation that came to maturity between World Wars I and II, especially of the artistic and intellectual elements of that generation. He was born into an eminent family, which bequeathed to him several strains of Victorian intellectualism. His father, Leonard Huxley, a professor of Greek, was the son of Thomas Henry Huxley, the biologist and chief defender of Charles Darwin’s theories. His mother, Julia Huxley, was the niece of Matthew Arnold. Huxley’s elder brother, Julian, was also a respected biologist and a prolific writer.

Aldous Huxley was educated at Eton College and the University of Oxford. He...

(The entire section is 988 words.)


(Novels for Students)

Aldous Huxley Published by Gale Cengage

Aldous Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, in Laleham near Godalming, Surrey, England, but he grew up in London. His family was well-known for...

(The entire section is 572 words.)