Aldous Huxley was born on the 26th of July in 1894 in Godalming in the county, Surrey. His parents were Leonard Huxley, a famous schoolmaster and writer, and Julia Arnold, founder of a private school. Since he belonged to an upper-class, his parent’s literary ideas collaborated a lot in his early growth. In 1908, he lost his mother and in 1911, he became ill with a fatal disease, which left him blind two to three years. Thomas Henry Huxley, the zoologist, agnostic, and controversialist, was Aldous’ grandfather.
Aldous’s educational journey started in his father’s well-equipped laboratory. Later, he was admitted to Hillside School, followed by Eton College. His mother taught him at school until she became ill and died, leaving him in the midst of troubles. During these years, the attack of Keratitis Punctata disease stole his dream of becoming a doctor. Later, he considered it a blessing. In 1913, he was enrolled at Balliol College, Oxford, where he studied English literature. Also, he edited the college magazine, Oxford Poetry, until 1916 and completed his degree the same year.
Some Important Facts of His Life
- He was blind for nearly three years in his late teens. He remained half-blind in one eye for the rest of his life.
- Oxford Dictionary lists him for the first user of the words dadaist, bitchy, snooty, and nymphomaniacal.
- His literary struggle won many honors for him, including such as James Tait Black Memorial Prize, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Companion of Literature.
- His masterpieces were adapted into various films and TV shows.
- He married twice in his life and had only one son from the first marriage.
- He died at the age of sixty-seven on the 22nd of November in 1963.
Aldous Huxley produced many masterpieces in his life. Despite facing acute illness and other challenges, he mesmerized generations with his literary works. He started writing from the age of seventeen and soon established himself as a social satirist and a leading literary figure. In his early twenties, he wrote short stories and poetry, but his literary reputation was established after the publication of his first novel, Crome Yellow, followed by other notable attempts, including. Antic Hay, Those Barren Leaves and Point Counter Point. In the 1920s, he stayed in Italy and documented his experiences in his work, Along the Road, which appeared in 1925. During the Second World War, he reflected his ideas about the dismantled society using a more somber tone in his novels, Brave New World, and Eyeless in Gaza, followed by a series of essays collected in the volume, Music at Night. His other notable works include The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems, The Genius and the Goddess, Two or Three Graces, and Little Mexican.
After establishing his career first as a teacher and later as a writer and poet, he earned much success. He gained immense popularity on account of his thoughtful ideas and unconventional style. He was employed a perfect blend of narrative and descriptive styles in his novels, such as Brave New World and Point Counter Point.
Huxley created a new style. Unlike many other great writers, he is also characterized by a literary innovation and a distinct voice. However, he is more famous for dazzling his readers with distinct language that always engages them. Also, in most of his works, he used a lot of social criticism about what is wrong with society. He intentionally used this style to stand apart among his contemporaries. The recurring thematic strands in most of the writings are human impulse, the power of knowledge, freedom, and the limits of science. Regarding literary devices, he often turns to metaphors, imagery, symbolism, and similes to create a unique style.
Some Major Works of Aldous Huxley
- Best Novels: He was an outstanding writer and philosopher. Some of his famous novels include Chrome Yellow, After Many a Summer, The Genius and the Goddess, Brave New World and Point Counter Point.
- Other Works: Besides novels, he tried his hands on shorter fiction and poetry. Some of his notable works include The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems, The Cicadas and Other Poems, The Olive Tree and other essays, Two or Three Graces, and Collected Short Stories.
Aldous Huxley’s Impact on Future Literature
Aldous Huxley started his writing career in his early twenties, despite facing several challenges in life. His unique writing style and literary qualities of his masterpieces brought praiseworthy changes into the world of literature. Also, he had a significant influence on a diverse range of writers and critics such as Clive James considers him the most influential figure of history. He expressed his thoughts and ideas in his literary pieces so well that even today, writers tend to imitate his style, considering him a role model for producing novels and non-fiction.
- “Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.” (Brave New World)
- “The people who make wars, the people who reduce their fellows to slavery, the people who kill and torture and tell lies in the name of their sacred causes, the really evil people in a word—these are never the publicans and the sinners. No, they’re the virtuous, respectable men, who have the finest feelings, the best brains, the noblest ideals.” (After Many a Summer Dies the Swan)
- “The history of any nation follows an undulatory course. In the trough of the wave we find more or less complete anarchy; but the crest is not more or less complete Utopia, but only, at best, a tolerably humane, partially free and fairly just society that invariably carries within itself the seeds of its own decadence.” (Grey Eminence)