Aldous Huxley Time And The Machine Essay Contest

 

 

In an October 1957 letter to a friend who had recommended he read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, Hunter S. Thompson wrote, “Although I don’t feel that it’s at all necessary to tell you how I feel about the principle of individuality, I know that I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life expressing it one way or another, and I think that I’ll accomplish more by expressing it on the keys of a typewriter than by letting it express itself in sudden outbursts of frustrated violence. . . .”

Thompson carved out his niche early. He was born in 1937, in Louisville, Kentucky, where his fiction and poetry earned him induction into the local Athenaeum Literary Association while he was still in high school. Thompson continued his literary pursuits in the United States Air Force, writing a weekly sports column for the base newspaper. After two years of service, Thompson endured a series of newspaper jobs—all of which ended badly—before he took to freelancing from Puerto Rico and South America for a variety of publications. The vocation quickly developed into a compulsion.

Thompson completed The Rum Diary, his only novel to date, before he turned twenty-five; bought by Ballantine Books, it finally was published—to glowing reviews—in 1998. In 1967, Thompson published his first nonfiction book, Hell’s Angels, a harsh and incisive firsthand investigation into the infamous motorcycle gang then making the heartland of America nervous.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which first appeared in Rolling Stone in November 1971, sealed Thompson’s reputation as an outlandish stylist successfully straddling the line between journalism and fiction writing. As the subtitle warns, the book tells of “a savage journey to the heart of the American Dream” in full-tilt gonzo style—Thompson’s hilarious first-person approach—and is accented by British illustrator Ralph Steadman’s appropriate drawings.

His next book, Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, was a brutally perceptive take on the 1972 Nixon-McGovern presidential campaign. A self-confessed political junkie, Thompson chronicled the 1992 presidential campaign in Better than Sex (1994). Thompson’s other books include The Curse of Lono (1983), a bizarre South Seas tale, and three collections of Gonzo Papers: The Great Shark Hunt (1979), Generation of Swine (1988) and Songs of the Doomed (1990).

In 1997, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967, the first volume of Thompson’s correspondence with everyone from his mother to Lyndon Johnson, was published. The second volume of letters, Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist, 1968-1976, has just been released.

Located in the mostly posh neighborhood of western Colorado’s Woody Creek Canyon, ten miles or so down-valley from Aspen, Owl Farm is a rustic ranch with an old-fashioned Wild West charm. Although Thompson’s beloved peacocks roam his property freely, it’s the flowers blooming around the ranch house that provide an unexpected high-country tranquility. Jimmy Carter, George McGovern and Keith Richards, among dozens of others, have shot clay pigeons and stationary targets on the property, which is a designated Rod and Gun Club and shares a border with the White River National Forest. Almost daily, Thompson leaves Owl Farm in either his Great Red Shark Convertible or Jeep Grand Cherokee to mingle at the nearby Woody Creek Tavern.

Visitors to Thompson’s house are greeted by a variety of sculptures, weapons, boxes of books and a bicycle before entering the nerve center of Owl Farm, Thompson’s obvious command post on the kitchen side of a peninsula counter that separates him from a lounge area dominated by an always-on Panasonic TV, always tuned to news or sports. An antique upright piano is piled high and deep enough with books to engulf any reader for a decade. Above the piano hangs a large Ralph Steadman portrait of “Belinda”—the Slut Goddess of Polo. On another wall covered with political buttons hangs a Che Guevara banner acquired on Thompson’s last tour of Cuba. On the counter sits an IBM Selectric typewriter—a Macintosh computer is set up in an office in the back wing of the house.

The most striking thing about Thompson’s house is that it isn’t the weirdness one notices first: it’s the words. They’re everywhere—handwritten in his elegant lettering, mostly in fading red Sharpie on the blizzard of bits of paper festooning every wall and surface: stuck to the sleek black leather refrigerator, taped to the giant TV, tacked up on the lampshades; inscribed by others on framed photos with lines like, “For Hunter, who saw not only fear and loathing, but hope and joy in ’72—George McGovern”; typed in IBM Selectric on reams of originals and copies in fat manila folders that slide in piles off every counter and table top; and noted in many hands and inks across the endless flurry of pages.

Thompson extricates his large frame from his ergonomically correct office chair facing the TV and lumbers over graciously to administer a hearty handshake or kiss to each caller according to gender, all with an easy effortlessness and unexpectedly old-world way that somehow underscores just who is in charge.

We talked with Thompson for twelve hours straight. This was nothing out of the ordinary for the host: Owl Farm operates like an eighteenth-century salon, where people from all walks of life congregate in the wee hours for free exchanges about everything from theoretical physics to local water rights, depending on who’s there. Walter Isaacson, managing editor of Time, was present during parts of this interview, as were a steady stream of friends. Given the very late hours Thompson keeps, it is fitting that the most prominently posted quote in the room, in Thompson’s hand, twists the last line of Dylan Thomas’s poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night”: “Rage, rage against the coming of the light.”

For most of the half-day that we talked, Thompson sat at his command post, chain-smoking red Dunhills through a German-made gold-tipped cigarette filter and rocking back and forth in his swivel chair. Behind Thompson’s sui generis personality lurks a trenchant humorist with a sharp moral sensibility. His exaggerated style may defy easy categorization, but his career-long autopsy on the death of the American dream places him among the twentieth century’s most exciting writers. The comic savagery of his best work will continue to electrify readers for generations to come.

. . . I have stolen more quotes and thoughts and purely elegant little starbursts of writing from the Book of Revelation than from anything else in the English Language—and it is not because I am a biblical scholar, or because of any religious faith, but because I love the wild power of the language and the purity of the madness that governs it and makes it music.

 

HUNTER S. THOMPSON

Well, wanting to and having to are two different things. Originally I hadn’t thought about writing as a solution to my problems. But I had a good grounding in literature in high school. We’d cut school and go down to a café on Bardstown Road where we would drink beer and read and discuss Plato’s parable of the cave. We had a literary society in town, the Athenaeum; we met in coat and tie on Saturday nights. I hadn’t adjusted too well to society—I was in jail for the night of my high school graduation—but I learned at the age of fifteen that to get by you had to find the one thing you can do better than anybody else . . . at least this was so in my case. I figured that out early. It was writing. It was the rock in my sock. Easier than algebra. It was always work, but it was always worthwhile work. I was fascinated early by seeing my byline in print. It was a rush. Still is.

When I got to the Air Force, writing got me out of trouble. I was assigned to pilot training at Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola in northwest Florida, but I was shifted to electronics . . . advanced, very intense, eight-month school with bright guys . . . I enjoyed it but I wanted to get back to pilot training. Besides, I’m afraid of electricity. So I went up there to the base education office one day and signed up for some classes at Florida State. I got along well with a guy named Ed and I asked him about literary possibilities. He asked me if I knew anything about sports, and I said that I had been the editor of my high-school paper. He said, “Well, we might be in luck.” It turned out that the sports editor of the base newspaper, a staff sergeant, had been arrested in Pensacola and put in jail for public drunkenness, pissing against the side of a building; it was the third time and they wouldn’t let him out.

So I went to the base library and found three books on journalism. I stayed there reading them until it closed. Basic journalism. I learned about headlines, leads: who, when, what, where, that sort of thing. I barely slept that night. This was my ticket to ride, my ticket to get out of that damn place. So I started as an editor. Boy, what a joy. I wrote long Grantland Rice-type stories. The sports editor of my hometown Louisville Courier Journal always had a column, left-hand side of the page. So I started a column.

By the second week I had the whole thing down. I could work at night. I wore civilian clothes, worked off base, had no hours, but I worked constantly. I wrote not only for the base paper, The Command Courier, but also the local paper, The Playground News. I’d put things in the local paper that I couldn’t put in the base paper. Really inflammatory shit. I wrote for a professional wrestling newsletter. The Air Force got very angry about it. I was constantly doing things that violated regulations. I wrote a critical column about how Arthur Godfrey, who’d been invited to the base to be the master of ceremonies at a firepower demonstration, had been busted for shooting animals from the air in Alaska. The base commander told me: “Goddamn it, son, why did you have to write about Arthur Godfrey that way?”

When I left the Air Force I knew I could get by as a journalist. So I went to apply for a job at Sports Illustrated. I had my clippings, my bylines, and I thought that was magic . . . my passport. The personnel director just laughed at me. I said, “Wait a minute. I’ve been sports editor for two papers.” He told me that their writers were judged not by the work they’d done, but where they’d done it. He said, “Our writers are all Pulitzer Prize winners from The New York Times. This is a helluva place for you to start. Go out into the boondocks and improve yourself.”

I was shocked. After all, I’d broken the Bart Starr story.

INTERVIEWER

What was that?

THOMPSON

At Eglin Air Force Base we always had these great football teams. The Eagles. Championship teams. We could beat up on the University of Virginia. Our bird-colonel Sparks wasn’t just any yo-yo coach. We recruited. We had these great players serving their military time in ROTC. We had Zeke Bratkowski, the Green Bay quarterback. We had Max McGee of the Packers. Violent, wild, wonderful drunk. At the start of the season McGee went AWOL, appeared at the Green Bay camp and he never came back. I was somehow blamed for his leaving. The sun fell out of the firmament. Then the word came that we were getting Bart Starr, the All-American from Alabama. The Eagles were going to roll! But then the staff sergeant across the street came in and said, “I’ve got a terrible story for you. Bart Starr’s not coming.” I managed to break into an office and get out his files. I printed the order that showed he was being discharged medically. Very serious leak.

INTERVIEWER

The Bart Starr story was not enough to impress Sports Illustrated?

THOMPSON

The personnel guy there said, “Well, we do have this trainee program.” So I became a kind of copy boy.

INTERVIEWER

You eventually ended up in San Francisco. With the publication in 1967 of Hell’s Angels, your life must have taken an upward spin.

THOMPSON

All of a sudden I had a book out. At the time I was twenty-nine years old and I couldn’t even get a job driving a cab in San Francisco, much less writing. Sure, I had written important articles for The Nation and The Observer, but only a few good journalists really knew my byline. The book enabled me to buy a brand new BSA 650 Lightning, the fastest motorcycle ever tested by Hot Rod magazine. It validated everything I had been working toward. If Hell’s Angels hadn’t happened I never would have been able to write Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or anything else. To be able to earn a living as a freelance writer in this country is damned hard; there are very few people who can do that. Hell’s Angels all of a sudden proved to me that, Holy Jesus, maybe I can do this. I knew I was a good journalist. I knew I was a good writer, but I felt like I got through a door just as it was closing.

INTERVIEWER

With the swell of creative energy flowing throughout the San Francisco scene at the time, did you interact with or were you influenced by any other writers?

THOMPSON

Ken Kesey for one. His novels One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Sometimes a Great Notion had quite an impact on me. I looked up to him hugely. One day I went down to the television station to do a roundtable show with other writers, like Kay Boyle, and Kesey was there. Afterwards we went across the street to a local tavern and had several beers together. I told him about the Angels, who I planned to meet later that day, and I said, “Well, why don’t you come along?” He said, “Whoa, I’d like to meet these guys.” Then I got second thoughts, because it’s never a good idea to take strangers along to meet the Angels. But I figured that this was Ken Kesey, so I’d try. By the end of the night Kesey had invited them all down to La Honda, his woodsy retreat outside of San Francisco. It was a time of extreme turbulence—riots in Berkeley. He was always under assault by the police—day in and day out, so La Honda was like a war zone. But he had a lot of the literary, intellectual crowd down there, Stanford people also, visiting editors, and Hell’s Angels. Kesey’s place was a real cultural vortex.

 

Aldous Huxley

Huxley, 1954

BornAldous Leonard Huxley
(1894-07-26)26 July 1894
Godalming, Surrey, United Kingdom
Died22 November 1963(1963-11-22) (aged 69)
Los Angeles County, California, US
Resting placeCompton, Surrey, United Kingdom
OccupationWriter, novelist
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
Notable works
Spouses
  • Maria Nys (m. 1919; d. 1955)
  • Laura Archera (m. 1956)
ChildrenMatthew Huxley

Signature

Aldous Leonard Huxley (; 26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer, novelist, philosopher,[1][2][3][4] and prominent member of the Huxley family. He graduated from Balliol College at the University of Oxford with a first class honours degree in English literature.

The author of nearly fifty books,[5][6] he was best known for his novels including Brave New World, set in a dystopian future; for nonfiction works, such as The Doors of Perception, which recalls experiences when taking a psychedelic drug; and a wide-ranging output of essays. Early in his career Huxley edited the magazine Oxford Poetry and published short stories and poetry. Mid career and later, he published travel writing, film stories, and scripts. He spent the later part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death. In 1962, a year before his death, he was elected Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature.[7]

Huxley was a humanist, pacifist, and satirist. He later became interested in spiritual subjects such as parapsychology and philosophical mysticism,[8][9] in particular universalism. By the end of his life, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time.[11] He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in seven different years.[12]

Early life[edit]

See also: Huxley family

Huxley was born in Godalming, Surrey, England, in 1894. He was the third son of the writer and schoolmaster Leonard Huxley, who edited Cornhill Magazine,[13] and his first wife, Julia Arnold, who founded Prior's Field School. Julia was the niece of poet and critic Matthew Arnold and the sister of Mrs. Humphrey Ward. Aldous was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, the zoologist, agnostic, and controversialist ("Darwin's Bulldog"). His brother Julian Huxley and half-brother Andrew Huxley also became outstanding biologists. Aldous had another brother, Noel Trevelyan Huxley (1891–1914), who committed suicide after a period of clinical depression.[14]

As a child, Huxley's nickname was "Ogie," short for "Ogre."[15] He was described by his brother, Julian, as someone who frequently "[contemplated] the strangeness of things".[15] According to his cousin and contemporary, Gervas Huxley, he had an early interest in drawing.[15]

Huxley's education began in his father's well-equipped botanical laboratory, after which he enrolled at Hillside School near Godalming.[16][17] He was taught there by his own mother for several years until she became terminally ill. After Hillside, he went on to Eton College. His mother died in 1908 when he was 14. In 1911 he contracted the eye disease (keratitis punctata) which "left [him] practically blind for two to three years."[18] This "ended his early dreams of becoming a doctor."[19] In October 1913, Huxley entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied English literature.[20] In January 1916, he volunteered for the British Army in the Great War, however was rejected on health grounds, being half-blind in one eye.[20] His eyesight later partly recovered. In 1916 he edited Oxford Poetry and in June of that year graduated BA with first class honours.[20] His brother Julian wrote:

I believe his blindness was a blessing in disguise. For one thing, it put paid to his idea of taking up medicine as a career ... His uniqueness lay in his universalism. He was able to take all knowledge for his province.[21]

Following his years at Balliol, Huxley, being financially indebted to his father, decided to find employment. From April to July 1917, he was in charge of ordering supplies at the Air Ministry .[22] He taught French for a year at Eton, where Eric Blair (who was to take the pen name George Orwell) and Steven Runciman were among his pupils. He was mainly remembered as being an incompetent schoolmaster unable to keep order in class. Nevertheless, Blair and others spoke highly of his excellent command of language.[23]

Significantly, Huxley also worked for a time during the 1920s at Brunner and Mond, an advanced chemical plant in Billingham in County Durham, northeast England. According to the introduction to the latest edition of his science fiction novel Brave New World (1932), the experience he had there of "an ordered universe in a world of planless incoherence" was an important source for the novel.[24]

Career[edit]

Huxley completed his first (unpublished) novel at the age of 17 and began writing seriously in his early 20s, establishing himself as a successful writer and social satirist. His first published novels were social satires, Crome Yellow (1921), Antic Hay (1923), Those Barren Leaves (1925), and Point Counter Point (1928). Brave New World was Huxley's fifth novel and first dystopian work. In the 1920s he was also a contributor to Vanity Fair and British Vogue magazines.[25]

Bloomsbury Set[edit]

During World War I, Huxley spent much of his time at Garsington Manor near Oxford, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, working as a farm labourer. There he met several Bloomsbury figures, including Bertrand Russell, Alfred North Whitehead,[26] and Clive Bell. Later, in Crome Yellow (1921) he caricatured the Garsington lifestyle. Jobs were very scarce, but in 1919 John Middleton Murry was reorganising the Athenaeum and invited Huxley to join the staff. He accepted immediately, and quickly married the Belgian refugee Maria Nys, also at Garsington.[27] They lived with their young son in Italy part of the time during the 1920s, where Huxley would visit his friend D. H. Lawrence. Following Lawrence's death in 1930, Huxley edited Lawrence's letters (1932).[28]

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, set in a dystopian London, 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 Means, An Encyclopedia of Pacifism, and Pacifism and Philosophy, and was an active member of the Peace Pledge Union.[29]

United States[edit]

In 1937 Huxley moved to Hollywood with his wife Maria, son Matthew Huxley, and friend Gerald Heard. He lived in the U.S., mainly in southern California, until his death, and also for a time in Taos, New Mexico, where he wrote Ends and Means (published in 1937). The book contains tracts on war, religion, nationalism and ethics.

Heard introduced Huxley to Vedanta (Upanishad-centered philosophy), meditation, and vegetarianism through the principle of ahimsa. In 1938, Huxley befriended Jiddu Krishnamurti, whose teachings he greatly admired. Huxley and Krishnamurti entered into an enduring exchange (sometimes edging on debate) over many years, with Krishnamurti representing the more rarefied, detached, ivory-tower perspective and Huxley, with his pragmatic concerns, the more socially and historically informed position. Huxley provided an introduction to Krishnamurti’s quintessential statement, The First and Last Freedom (1954).[30]

Huxley also became a Vedantist in the circle of Hindu Swami Prabhavananda, and introduced Christopher Isherwood to this circle. Not long after, Huxley wrote his book on widely held spiritual values and ideas, The Perennial Philosophy, which discussed the teachings of renowned mystics of the world. Huxley's book affirmed a sensibility that insists there are realities beyond the generally accepted "five senses" and that there is genuine meaning for humans beyond both sensual satisfactions and sentimentalities.

Huxley became a close friend of Remsen Bird, president of Occidental College. He spent much time at the college, which is in the Eagle Rock neighbourhood of Los Angeles. The college appears as "Tarzana College" in his satirical novel After Many a Summer (1939). The novel won Huxley a British literary award, the 1939 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.[31] Huxley also incorporated Bird into the novel.

During this period, Huxley earned a substantial income as a Hollywood screenwriter; Christopher Isherwood, in his autobiography My Guru and His Disciple, states that Huxley earned more than $3,000 per week (an enormous sum in those days) as a screenwriter, and that he used much of it to transport Jewish and left-wing writer and artist refugees from Hitler's Germany to the U.S. In March 1938, his friend Anita Loos, a novelist and screenwriter, put him in touch with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer who hired Huxley for Madame Curie, which was originally to star Greta Garbo and be directed by George Cukor. (Eventually, the film was completed by MGM in 1943 with a different director and cast.) Huxley received screen credit for Pride and Prejudice (1940) and was paid for his work on a number of other films, including Jane Eyre (1944). Huxley was commissioned by Walt Disney in 1945 to write a script based on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the biography of the story's author, Lewis Carroll. The script was not used, however.[32]

Huxley wrote an introduction to the posthumous publication of J. D. Unwin's 1940 book Hopousia or The Sexual and Economic Foundations of a New Society.[33]

On 21 October 1949, Huxley wrote to George Orwell, author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, congratulating him on "how fine and how profoundly important the book is." In his letter to Orwell, he predicted:

Within the next generation I believe that the world's leaders will discover that infant conditioning and narco-hypnosis are more efficient, as instruments of government, than clubs and prisons, and that the lust for power can be just as completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude as by flogging them and kicking them into obedience.[34]

Huxley had deeply felt apprehensions about the future the developed world might make for itself. From these, he made some warnings in his writings and talks. In a 1958 televised interview conducted by journalist Mike Wallace, Huxley outlined several major concerns: the difficulties and dangers of world overpopulation; the tendency toward distinctly hierarchical social organisation; the crucial importance of evaluating the use of technology in mass societies susceptible to wily persuasion; the tendency to promote modern politicians to a naive public as well-marketed commodities.[35]

Post World War II[edit]

In 1953 Huxley and Maria applied for United States citizenship and presented themselves for examination. When Huxley refused to bear arms for the U.S. and would not state that his objections were based on religious ideals, the only excuse allowed under the McCarran Act, the judge had to adjourn the proceedings.[36][37] He withdrew his application. Nevertheless, he remained in the U.S. In 1959 Huxley turned down an offer of a Knight Bachelor by the Macmillan government without putting forward a reason; his brother Julian had been knighted in 1958, while another brother Andrew would be knighted in 1974.[38]

Association with Vedanta[edit]

Beginning in 1939 and continuing until his death in 1963, Huxley had an extensive association with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, founded and headed by Swami Prabhavananda. Together with Gerald Heard, Christopher Isherwood, and other followers he was initiated by the Swami and was taught meditation and spiritual practices.

In 1944 Huxley wrote the introduction to the "Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God,"[39] translated by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood, which was published by The Vedanta Society of Southern California.

From 1941 until 1960, Huxley contributed 48 articles to Vedanta and the West, published by the society. He also served on the editorial board with Isherwood, Heard, and playwright John van Druten from 1951 through 1962.

Huxley also occasionally lectured at the Hollywood and Santa Barbara Vedanta temples. Two of those lectures have been released on CD: Knowledge and Understanding and Who Are We? from 1955. Nonetheless, Huxley's agnosticism, together with his speculative propensity, made it difficult for him to fully embrace any form of institutionalised religion.[40]

In the spring of 1953, Huxley had his first experience with psychedelic drugs, in this case, mescaline. Huxley had initiated a correspondence with Dr. Humphry Osmond, a British psychiatrist then employed in a Canadian institution, and eventually asked him to supply a dose of mescaline; Osmond obliged and supervised Huxley's session in southern California. After the publication of The Doors of Perception, in which he recounted this experience, Huxley and Swami Prabhavananda disagreed about the meaning and importance of the psychedelic drug experience, which may have caused the relationship to cool, but Huxley continued to write articles for the society's journal, lecture at the temple, and attend social functions.

Eyesight[edit]

There are differing accounts about the details of the quality of Huxley's eyesight at specific points in his life. About 1939 Huxley encountered the Bates method for better eyesight, and a teacher, Margaret Darst Corbett, who was able to teach the method to him. In 1940, Huxley relocated from Hollywood to a 40-acre (16 ha) ranchito in the high desert hamlet of Llano, California, in northern Los Angeles County. Huxley then said that his sight improved dramatically with the Bates Method and the extreme and pure natural lighting of the southwestern American desert. He reported that, for the first time in more than 25 years, he was able to read without glasses and without strain. He even tried driving a car along the dirt road beside the ranch. He wrote a book about his successes with the Bates Method, The Art of Seeing, which was published in 1942 (U.S.), 1943 (UK). The book contained some generally disputed theories, and its publication created a growing degree of popular controversy about Huxley's eyesight.[41]

It was, and is, widely believed that Huxley was nearly blind since the illness in his teens, despite the partial recovery that had enabled him to study at Oxford. For example, some ten years after publication of The Art of Seeing, in 1952, Bennett Cerf was present when Huxley spoke at a Hollywood banquet, wearing no glasses and apparently reading his paper from the lectern without difficulty: "Then suddenly he faltered—and the disturbing truth became obvious. He wasn't reading his address at all. He had learned it by heart. To refresh his memory he brought the paper closer and closer to his eyes. When it was only an inch or so away he still couldn't read it, and had to fish for a magnifying glass in his pocket to make the typing visible to him. It was an agonising moment."[42]

Brazilian author João Ubaldo Ribeiro, who as a young journalist spent several evenings in the Huxleys’ company in the late 1950s, wrote[43] that Huxley had said to him, with a wry smile: "I can hardly see at all. And I don't give a damn, really." Ribeiro then proceeds to confirm Bennett Cerf's experience, as described above.

On the other hand, Huxley's second wife, Laura Archera, would later emphasise in her biographical account, This Timeless Moment: "One of the great achievements of his life: that of having regained his sight." After revealing a letter she wrote to the Los Angeles Times disclaiming the label of Huxley as a "poor fellow who can hardly see" by Walter C. Alvarez, she tempered this: "Although I feel it was an injustice to treat Aldous as though he were blind, it is true there were many indications of his impaired vision. For instance, although Aldous did not wear glasses, he would quite often use a magnifying lens."[44] Laura Huxley proceeded to elaborate a few nuances of inconsistency peculiar to Huxley's vision. Her account, in this respect, is discernibly congruent with the following sample of Huxley's own words from The Art of Seeing: "The most characteristic fact about the functioning of the total organism, or any part of the organism, is that it is not constant, but highly variable." Nevertheless, the topic of Huxley's eyesight continues to endure similar, significant controversy, regardless of how trivial a subject matter it might initially appear.[45]

American popular science author Steven Johnson, in his book Mind Wide Open, quotes Huxley about his difficulties with visual encoding: "I am and, for as long as I can remember, I have always been a poor visualizer. Words, even the pregnant words of poets, do not evoke pictures in my mind. No hypnagogic visions greet me on the verge of sleep. When I recall something, the memory does not present itself to me as a vividly seen event or object. By an effort of the will, I can evoke a not very vivid image of what happened yesterday afternoon ..."[46][47]

Personal life[edit]

Huxley married Maria Nys (10 September 1899 – 12 February 1955), a Belgian he met at Garsington, Oxfordshire, in 1919. They had one child, Matthew Huxley (19 April 1920 – 10 February 2005), who had a career as an author, anthropologist, and prominent epidemiologist.[48] In 1955, Nys died of cancer.[19]

In 1956 Huxley married Laura Archera (1911–2007), also an author as well as a violinist and psychotherapist.[19] She wrote This Timeless Moment, a biography of Huxley. Archera felt inspired to illuminate the story of their marriage through Mary Ann Braubach's 2010 documentary, "Huxley on Huxley."[49]

In 1960 Huxley was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer and, in the years that followed, with his health deteriorating, he wrote the Utopian novel Island,[50] and gave lectures on "Human Potentialities" both at the University of California's San Francisco Medical Center and at the Esalen Institute. These lectures were fundamental to the beginning of the Human Potential Movement.[51]

Huxley was a close friend of Jiddu Krishnamurti and Rosalind Rajagopal and was involved in the creation of the Happy Valley School, now Besant Hill School of Happy Valley, in Ojai, California.

The most substantial collection of Huxley's few remaining papers, following the destruction of most in a fire, is at the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles.[52] Some are also at the Stanford University Libraries.[53]

On 9 April 1962, Huxley was informed he was elected Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature, the senior literary organisation in Britain, and he accepted the title via letter on 28 April 1962.[54] The correspondence between Huxley and the society are kept at the Cambridge University Library.[54] The society invited Huxley to appear at a banquet and give a lecture at Somerset House, London in June 1963. Huxley wrote a draft of the speech he intended to give at the society; however, his deteriorating health meant he would not be able to attend.[54]

Death[edit]

On his deathbed, unable to speak owing to advanced laryngeal cancer, Huxley made a written request to his wife Laura for "LSD, 100 µg, intramuscular." According to her account of his death[55] in This Timeless Moment, she obliged with an injection at 11:20 a.m. and a second dose an hour later; Huxley died aged 69, at 5:20 p.m. (Los Angeles time), on 22 November 1963.[56]

Media coverage of Huxley's death—as with that of the author C.S. Lewis–was overshadowed by the assassination of U.S. president John F. Kennedy on the same day.[57] This coincidence served as the basis for Peter Kreeft's book Between Heaven and Hell: A Dialog Somewhere Beyond Death with John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, & Aldous Huxley, which imagines a conversation among the three men taking place in Purgatory following their deaths.[58]

Huxley's memorial service took place in London in December 1963; it was led by his older brother Julian, and on 27 October 1971[59] his ashes were interred in the family grave at the Watts Cemetery, home of the Watts Mortuary Chapel in Compton, Guildford, Surrey, England.[60]

Huxley had been a long-time friend of Russian composer Igor Stravinsky, who later dedicated his last orchestral composition to Huxley. Stravinsky began Variations in Santa Fé, New Mexico, in July 1963, and completed the composition in Hollywood on 28 October 1964. It was first performed in Chicago on 17 April 1965, by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Craft.[61][62]

Awards[edit]

Film adaptations of Huxley's work[edit]

Works[edit]

Novels
Short story collections
Poetry collections
  • 1916 Oxford Poetry(magazine editor)
  • 1916 The Burning Wheel
  • 1917 Jonah
  • 1918 The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems
  • 1920 Leda
  • 1925 Selected Poems
  • 1929 Arabia Infelix and Other Poems
  • 1931 The Cicadas and Other Poems
  • 1971 Collected Poems
Essay collections
Screenplays
Travel books
Children's fiction
Drama
  • 1924 The Discovery(adapted from Francis Sheridan)
  • 1931 The World of Light (full text)
  • 1948 Mortal Coils – A Play(stage version of The Gioconda Smile)
  • 1958 The Genius and the Goddess(stage version, co-written with Betty Wendel)
  • 1967 The Ambassador of Captripedia
  • 2000 Now More Than Ever(Lost play discovered by the Department of English Literature, University of Münster, Germany)
Articles written for Vedanta and the West
    • 1941 "Distractions"
    • "Distractions II"
    • "Action and Contemplation"
    • "An Appreciation"
    • "The Yellow Mustard"
    • "Lines"
    • "Some Reflections of the Lord's Prayer"
    • 1942 "Reflections of the Lord's Prayer"
    • "Reflections of the Lord's Prayer II"
    • "Words and Reality"
    • "Readings in Mysticism"
    • "Man and Reality"
    • "The Magical and the Spiritual"
    • 1943 "Religion and Time"
    • "Idolatry"
    • "Religion and Temperament"
    • "A Note on the Bhagavatam"
    • "Seven Meditations"
    • 1944 "On a Sentence From Shakespeare"
    • "The Minimum Working Hypothesis"
    • "From a Notebook"
    • "The Philosophy of the Saints"
    • 1945 "That Art Thou"
    • "That Art Thou II"
    • "The Nature of the Ground"
    • "The Nature of the Ground II"
    • "God in the World"
    • 1946 "Origins and Consequences of Some Contemporary Thought-Patterns"
    • "The Sixth Patriarch"
    • "Some Reflections on Time"
    • 1947 "Reflections on Progress"
    • "Further Reflections on Progress"
    • "William Law"
    • "Notes on Zen"
    • 1948 "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread"
    • "A Note on Gandhi"
  • 1949 "Art and Religion
  • 1950 "Foreword to an Essay on the Indian Philosophy of Peace"
    • 1952 "A Note on Enlightenment"
    • "Substitutes for Liberation"
    • 1954 "The Desert"
    • "A Note on Patanjali"
  • 1955 "Who Are We?"
    • 1956 "Foreword to the Supreme Doctrine"
    • "Knowledge and Understanding"
  • 1957 "The "Inanimate" is Alive"
  • 1960 "Symbol and Immediate Experience"
Audio recordings
Other

References[edit]

  1. ^Watt, Donald, ed. (1975). Aldous Huxley. Routledge. p. 366. ISBN 0-415-15915-6. Retrieved 10 April 2016.  
  2. ^Sion, Ronald T. (2010). Aldous Huxley and the Search for Meaning: A Study of the Eleven Novels. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7864-4746-6. Retrieved 10 April 2016.  
  3. ^Reiff, Raychel Haugrud (2010). Aldous Huxley: Brave New World. Marshall Cavendish Corporation. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-7614-4278-3.  
  4. ^Sawyer, Dana (2002). Aldous Huxley: A Biography. The Crossroad Publishing Company. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-8245-1987-2. Retrieved 10 April 2016.  
  5. ^Raychel Haugrud Reiff, Aldous Huxley: Brave New World, Marshall Cavendish (2009), p. 101
  6. ^Dana Sawyer in M. Keith Booker (ed.), Encyclopedia of Literature and Politics: H-R, Greenwood Publishing Group (2005), p. 359
  7. ^"Companions of Literature"Archived 2 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 5 January 2015
  8. ^Thody, Philipe (1973). Huxley: A Biographical Introduction. Scribner. ISBN 978-0-289-70188-1. 
  9. ^David K. Dunaway (1995). Aldous Huxley Recollected: An Oral History. Rowman Altamira. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-7619-9065-9. 
  10. ^Thody, Philipe (1973)
  11. ^"Nomination Database: Aldous Huxley". Nobel Prize.org. Retrieved 19 March 2015
  12. ^"Cornhill Magazine". National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 24 April 2016. 
  13. ^Holmes, Charles Mason (1978) Aldous Huxley and the Way to Reality. Greenwood Press, 1978, p. 5
  14. ^ abcBedford, Sybille (1974). Aldous Huxley. Alfred A. Knopf / Harper & Row. 
  15. ^James Hull (2004). Aldous Huxley, Representative Man. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 6. ISBN 978-3-8258-7663-0. 
  16. ^M.C. Rintoul (5 March 2014). Dictionary of Real People and Places in Fiction. Taylor & Francis. p. 509. ISBN 978-1-136-11940-8. 
  17. ^Huxley, Aldous (1939). "Biography and bibliography (appendix)". After Many A Summer Dies The Swan. 1st Perennial Classic. Harper & Row. p. 243. 
  18. ^ abcHuxley, Aldous (2006). "Aldous Huxley: A Life of the Mind". Brave New World. Harper Perennial Modern Classics / HarperCollins Publishers. 
  19. ^ abcRaychel Haugrud Reiff (2009). "Aldous Huxley: Brave New World". p. 112. Marshall Cavendish
  20. ^Julian Huxley 1965. Aldous Huxley 1894–1963: a Memorial Volume. Chatto & Windus, London. p. 22
  21. ^Nicholas Murray (2009). "Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual". Chapter 7. p. 4. Hachette
  22. ^Crick, Bernard (1992). George Orwell: A Life. London: Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-014563-2. 
  23. ^Baggini, Julian (2009). Atheism. Sterling. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-4027-6882-8. 
  24. ^Aldous Huxley: Selected Letters". p. 144. Ivan R. Dee, 2007
  25. ^Weber, Michel (March 2005), Meckier, Jerome; Nugel, Bernfried, eds., "On Religiousness and Religion. Huxley's Reading of Whitehead's Religion in the Making in the Light of James' Varieties of Religious Experience", Aldous Huxley Annual. A Journal of Twentieth-Century Thought and Beyond, Münster: LIT, 5, pp. 117–32 .
  26. ^Clark, Ronald W (1968), The Huxleys, London: William Heinemann .
  27. ^Woodcock, George (2007), Dawn and the Darkest Hour: A Study of Aldous Huxley, Black Rose Books, p. 240 .
  28. ^"Aldous Huxley". Peace Pledge Union. Archived from the original on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  29. ^Vernon, Roland (2000) Star in the East, pp. 204-207. Sentient Publications: Boulder, CO
  30. ^Haugrud Reiff, Raychel (2003) Aldous Huxley: Brave New World p. 103. Marshall Cavendish, 2009
  31. ^"7 unproduced screenplays by famous intellectuals". Salon. 2010-04-15. Retrieved 2018-02-25. 
  32. ^Unwin, JD (1940), Hopousia or The Sexual and Economic Foundations of a New Society, NY: Oscar Piest .
  33. ^Huxley, Aldous (1969). Grover Smith, ed. Letters of Aldous Huxley. London: Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-1312-4. 
  34. ^"The Mike Wallace Interview: Aldous Huxley (18 May 1958)". YouTube. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 
  35. ^Raychel Haugrud Reiff (1 September 2009). Aldous Huxley: Brave New World. Marshall Cavendish. p. 31. ISBN 978-0-7614-4701-6. 
  36. ^Nicholas Murray (4 June 2009). Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual. Little, Brown Book Group. p. 309. ISBN 978-0-7481-1231-9. 
  37. ^The New Encyclopaedia Britannica. (2003). Volume 6. p. 178
  38. ^Isherwood, Christopher; Swami Prabhavananda; Aldous, Huxley (1987). Bhagavad Gita: The Song of God. Hollywood, Calif: Vedanta Press. ISBN 978-0-87481-043-1. 
  39. ^Michel Weber, " Perennial Truth and Perpetual Perishing. A. Huxley’s Worldview in the Light of A. N. Whitehead’s Process Philosophy of Time ", in Bernfried Nugel, Uwe Rasch and Gerhard Wagner (eds.), Aldous Huxley, Man of Letters: Thinker, Critic and Artist, Proceedings of the Third International Aldous Huxley Symposium Riga 2004, Münster, LIT, "Human Potentialities", Band 9, 2007, pp. 31–45.
  40. ^Nugel, Bernfried; Meckier, Jerome (28 February 2011). "A New Look at The Art of Seeing". Aldous Huxley Annual. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 111. ISBN 978-3-643-10450-2. 
  41. ^Cerf, Bennett (12 April 1952), The Saturday Review (column), quoted in Gardner, Martin (1957). Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science. Dover Publications. ISBN 978-0-486-20394-2. 
  42. ^O Conselheiro Come (in Portuguese). Editora Nova Fronteira. 2000. p. 92. ISBN 85-209-1069-6. 
  43. ^Huxley, Laura (1968). This Timeless Moment. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 978-0-89087-968-9. 
  44. ^Rolfe, Lionel (1981) Literary LA p. 50. Chronicle Books, 1981. University of California.
  45. ^Huxley, The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell, Harper Perennial, 1963, p. 15.

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