Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Tantamount House

Tantamount House. Home of the Tantamount family in one of the most fashionable addresses in London—on Pall Mall Street, between the Reform Club and the Traveller’s Club, not far from St. James Palace. Designed in 1839 in an ostentatious Italianate style by the architect Charles Barry (who also designed London’s Houses of Parliament), the house retains most of its original features—including a statue of Venus by Antonio Canova that decorates the marble staircase. However, part of the top floor has been converted into a biological laboratory by the scientifically inclined Lord Edward Tantamount.

The house became the home of the Tantamounts when their northern England estates, between Leeds and Sheffield, were despoiled by the Industrial Revolution. Unlike the tenants of Crome in Huxley’s earlier Crome Yellow (1921), who cling to the old custom of entertaining on weekends in the country, the thoroughly modern Tantamounts hold social evenings to which representatives of London’s intellectual, artistic, and political elites—which are in the process of superseding and displacing the aristocratic elite represented by the Tantamounts—are generously invited. Tantamount House is thus the nucleus of an extensive web of social relationships, whose guests gravitate there from less fashionable London addresses and maintain significant contacts with elements of the British Empire as far-flung as India and Canada.


Gattenden. Village in the Chiltern hills in Hertfordshire, site of Gattenden Park and Gattenden Hall. The residence of John Bidlake and his...

(The entire section is 676 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Baker, Robert. The Dark Historic Page: Social Satire and Historicism in the Novels of Aldous Huxley, 1921-1939. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982. Presents four of the novel’s main contrapuntal plot lines, which are centered around relationships with parents, lovers, death, and God. Argues that Spandrell is central to each of these plot lines.

Bedford, Sybille. Aldous Huxley: A Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1973. Detailed biography based primarily on oral sources that traces Huxley’s intellectual and moral development from early childhood on. Presents a fascinating insight into the Huxley family. Discusses the novel’s theme, characterization, and critical reaction.

Bowering, Peter. Aldous Huxley: A Study of the Major Novels. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969. Presents Huxley as a novelist of ideas who uses minimal plot and character development so as to focus on theme and satire. Discusses Huxley’s relationship with D. H. Lawrence and its influence on the themes and ideas in the novel.

Meckier, Jerome. Aldous Huxley: Satire and Structure. London: Chatto & Windus, 1969. An excellent introductory source that isolates major themes of Point Counter Point and provides the clearest overview of its structure. Includes a detailed analysis of Rampion’s central role and of his ruthless assessments of other characters, as well as the use of models for many characters.

Murray, Nicholas. Aldous Huxley: A Biography. New York: St. Martin’s, 2003. Murray’s 500-plus page biography and intellectual history is a wide-ranging survey of Huxley’s writing and his social, personal, and political life. The book stretches from Huxley’s early satirical writing to his peace activism, from his close relations and friendships with Hollywood filmmakers and other intellectuals, to his fascination with spirituality and mysticism. Illustrations, bibliography, and index.

Nance, Guinevera A. Aldous Huxley. New York: Continuum, 1988. A clear introductory work that discusses Huxley’s intellectual development and his detached, reflective presentation of a society without balance. Also analyzes the characters, parallel story lines, and recurring themes of Point Counter Point.