Brave New World

Brave New World

1932

Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's 1932 dystopian novel. Borrowing from The Tempest , Huxley imagines a genetically-engineered future where life is pain-free but meaningless. The book heavily influenced George Orwell's 1984 and science-fictio...

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288 Pages
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Brave New World is Aldous Huxley's 1932 dystopian novel. Borrowing from The Tempest , Huxley imagines a genetically-engineered future where life is pain-free but meaningless. The book heavily influenced George Orwell's 1984 and science-fiction in general.

Brave New World is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, inhabited by genetically modified citizens and an intelligence-based social hierarchy, the novel anticipates huge scientific advancements in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning that are combined to make a dystopian society which is challenged by only a single individual: the story's protagonist. Huxley followed this book with a reassessment in essay form, Brave New World Revisited (1958), and with his final novel, Island (1962), the utopian counterpart. The novel is often compared to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

 

In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World as #5 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.In 2003, Robert McCrum, writing for The Observer, included Brave New World chronologically at #53 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time", and the novel was listed at #87 on The Big Read survey by the BBC.

 

Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly fifty books—both novels and non-fiction works—as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems.

 

Born into the prominent Huxley family, he graduated from Balliol College, Oxford with an undergraduate degree in English literature. Early in his career, he published short stories and poetry and edited the literary magazine Oxford Poetry, before going on to publish travel writing, satire, and screenplays. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death. By the end of his life, Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the foremost intellectuals of his time.He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times and was elected Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1962.

 

Huxley was a humanist and pacifist. He grew interested in philosophical mysticismand universalism,addressing these subjects with works such as The Perennial Philosophy (1945)—which illustrates commonalities between Western and Eastern mysticism—and The Doors of Perception (1954)—which interprets his own psychedelic experience with mescaline. In his most famous novel Brave New World (1932) and his final novel Island (1962), he presented his vision of dystopia and utopia, respectively.

 

Review:

theguardian.com

"O brave new world, that hath such people in it!"

 

Brave New World is a classic - it is a dystopian novel similar in theme to George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. I was recommended to read this book, by my cousin, as I enjoy dystopian novels. Brave New World revolves around the idea of totalitarianism and is set in a futuristic world where a combination of science and pleasure form a rather feudalistic society. This idea of totalitarianism is achieved through test tube babies, and hypnotism, resulting in a pre-ordained caste system consisting of intelligent humans suited to the highest positions and conversely, serf-like beings genetically programmed to carry out menial works. In this world of Alphas, Betas, Gammas, Deltas and the unfortunate Epsilons, exists drug-induced happiness, caused by what is known as soma. Here, "everyone belongs to everyone else" emphasising the system of forced promiscuity, brainwashed into the people from the moment of birth. At the core of this book is the horrific idea of eugenics and despite being written several decades ago, its message remains valid for our generation.

 

Brave New World explores the negatives of a ostensibly successful world in which everyone appears to be content and satisfied, with excessive carnal pleasures yet really, this stability is only achieved by sacrificing freedom in its true sense and the idea of personal responsibility.

 

I think this book is really interesting as it explores the dangers of technology and what it can do to a whole world; indeed, Huxley is trying to convey the idea that technology does not have the power to save us successfully. This theme is what makes the novel controversial - yet a classic that we can relate to, especially in today's world, where technology is close enough to ruling our lives, what with high tech computers, music players and gaming consoles fast becoming a natural part of our lives. Additionally, Brave New World explores the idea of just how far science can go without being immoral. Would we really want to live in a world where eugenics rule and despite everyone being equal on the surface, deep underneath bubbles the idea of inequuality and unfairness? Not for me, thanks! The novel presents the contradictory idea of a Utopia, a perfect world, yet the word "utopia" is derived from two Greek words meaning "good place" and "no place"; this suggests that the perfect world is impossible.

It is true that this book is a complex read and I must confess that some parts I did not understand; however, the novel's meaning has left a deep impression on me. It's certainly a book I won't forget, and I would recommend it to readers aged fourteen and over as the ideas presented are complex, and Huxley writes in a very adult-like manner, with exceedingly complicated sentences and very complex vocabulary.

 

Overall, Brave New World is a scary depiction of what could soon be our future. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this well written and thought provoking novel.

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