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Aldous Huxley Essay Examples

Aldous Leonard Huxley: English novelist, essayist, critic, and poet. On July 26, 1894, Aldous was born of Leonard and Julia Huxley in England. The infamous Huxley family possessed both scientific and literary fame throughout Europe. As a teenage, Aldous developed a bizarre eye disease which left him blind for over two years. This traumatic event changed Aldous’s career as a medical doctor to a writer instead.  “I should infallibly have killed myself in the much more strenuous profession of medicine.”  But he was used to work, even in the literary world.

During the 1920’s, he lived in Italy and France, and then immigrated to the United States in 1937. Huxley’s own experiences made him stand apart from the class into which he was born. Growing up, he was seen as different, showing an alertness, and intelligence, a superiority. He was a respected and loved individual. He felt that heredity made each individual unique, and the uniqueness of the individual was essential to freedom. His feelings and emotions are displayed in his work, Brave New World. Like his family, and the Alphas of Brave New World, Huxley felt a moral obligation to fight the idea that happiness could be achieved through class. When Huxley was 14 years old, he experienced a traumatic loss in his life; his mother died. One can see his loss and his sense of the transience of human happiness in Brave New World.

As mentioned before, Huxley developed an eye illness. This event prevented him from entering World War I, but also offered him a new opportunity to do scientific work. This scientific work influenced his writings as well.
In 1916, Huxley published his first book, which was a collection of poems. Later, in 1919, he married Maria Nys and shortly after their only son, Matthew, was born. His family divided their time across the sea; spending time in Europe as well as the United States. He like the confidence, vitality, and “generous extravagance” he found in American life. But he wasn’t sure he liked the way vitality was expressed. His thoughts and views of American life were expressed in Jesting Pilate. After spending some time in America, his family eventually moved to California, where he spent much of his time in Hollywood. He wrote After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, which is a novel that caricatures what he saw as the strange life there.

Throughout World War II, Huxley was convinced that while still “rather rare,” sanity could be achieved and said that he would like to see more of it. That same year, he published The Perennial Philosophy, which texts his own commentaries on mystical and religious approaches to a sane life in a sane society. He also worried about the dangers that threatened sanity. In 1958, he published Brave New World Revisited. This was a set of essays on real life problems and ideas, which range from overpopulation, over organization, and psychological techniques. Huxley wanted people to fight the government’s abuse of depriving people of their freedom.
In the 1950’s there was some speculation that Huxley had taken an interest in psychedelic drugs like LSD. He put his beliefs in such a drug and in sanity into several books. One such book, Island, was written as a good Utopia. Huxley approved of the perfected version of LSD that the people of Island use in a religious way.

Huxley studied a wide variety of ideas throughout his lifetime, before and during his literary time. He wrote an early essay on ecology that helped inspire today’s environmental movement. Because he was a pacifist, it prevented him from becoming an American citizen because he would not say his pacifism was a matter of his religion. This made him an acceptable conscientious objector. Although he remained nearly blind all of his life, it inspired him to create scenes that were so realistic, that they were made into movies. His wife died in 1955, and he remarried to Laura Archera the following year. He died on November 22, 1963, was cremated, and his ashes were buried in his parents’ grave in England.

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