The original edition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was published in 1932. This commentary uses an edition published in 1994 by Flamingo.
In the introduction, David Bradshaw of Worcestor College, Oxford mentions that in the 1920s and 30s, Huxley believed that society should be under “an elite caste of experts” (1).
He mentions that the world described in Brave New World is not so different from the “scientific utopia Huxley was promoting elsewhere” (2).
On BBC Radio, shortly before publication in 1932, Huxley advocated eugenics for political control. Before that, he had advocated eugenics in Proper Studies (1927) (3).
The introduction quotes Huxley:
It may be that circumstances will compel the humanist to resort to scientific propaganda, just as they may compel the liberal to resort to dictatorship. Any form of order is better than chaos.” (4)
So that was his opinion!
The introduction mentions that Brave New World can be seen as Huxley’s “oblique and despairing endorsement of scientific planning” (5).
However, after World War II, in 1946, Huxley wrote a new Foreword with a different tone. Also, in his non-fiction Brave New World Revisited (1958), in the context of Soviet communism, he emphasizes the dark side of his novel.
Aldous Huxley’s grandfather was Thomas Henry Huxley, known as “Darwin’s bulldog” (6).
Aldous was born in Surrey, England in 1894 and died in 1963 in Hollywood, California (7). The year before his death, his Los Angeles home and most of his personal effects were destroyed by fire (8).
After graduating from Oxford, Huxley, because of his poor eyesight, was seen as unfit for military service in World War I, so he worked as a farm labourer at Lady Ottoline Morrell’s Garsington Manor. Lady Ottoline Morrell was a Bloomsbury Group socialite. While there, Huxley met other social engineers and shapers of society such as D. H. Lawrence and Bertrand Russell (9).
Huxley wrote many books relating to the same topics explored in Brave New World. For example, The Doors of Perception (1954) and Heaven and Hell (1956) helped to popularize Huxley’s Brave New World theme of psychedelic drugs.
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1. Page 4 (my numbering system) of Introduction by David Bradshaw: Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, (London: Flamingo, 1994, Orig. Published: 1932).
2. Page 5 of Introduction, ibid.
3. Page 6 of Introduction, ibid.
4. Page 6 of Introduction, ibid.
5. Page 7 of Introduction, ibid.
6. Page 1 (my numbering system) of Bio, ibid.
7. Page 9 of Bio, ibid.
8. Page 8 of Bio, ibid.
9. Page 2 of Bio, ibid.