Aldous Huxley was an English writer and Nobel Prize nominee who is commonly regarded as one of the greatest intellectuals of his time. NBC’s sci-fi series adaptation of his most well known dystopian novel “A Brave New World” debuted on July 15th. While many are familiar with this title, not everyone is aware that Huxley himself has written over fifty books. Here are some of his more obscure works.
Huxley’s debut novel is a satire about English country manors following WWI. It is about a writer, Denis, who joins a chaotic family at a house party as he tries to win over the heart of the niece named Anne. Denis is writing a novel about his own experiences, and to his horror discovers that the plot of his novel is all too predictable. It was criticized for its lack of plot development but highly praised for its clever and irreverent irony. The novel toys with themes of nihilism, dystopianism, and the spectacle of existence.
This historical narrative follows the story of a small French village that is supposedly possessed by a demon. A priest is accused of sexually seducing a nun and being in cohorts with Satan himself. The novel explores themes of sexual repression, mob mentality, and religious fanaticism. In 1960, it was adapted into a stage play of the same name, and in 1971 a film called The Devils was released based on the novel, starring Oliver Reed and Vanessa Redgrave.
This work of fiction tells the tale of a sheltered physicist named John Rivers who lives with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist named Henry Maartens. Chaos ensues in their family life as John falls in love with Henry’s wife, Henry’s daughter falls in love with John, and Henry suffers a mental breakdown. It explores themes of religion, sex, death, history, literature, and intellect.
4) ‘Time Must Have a Stop’ (1945)
This novel tells the story of 17-year-old poet Sebastian as he struggles with many obstacles to attending his friend’s party. While he wishes to wear formal attire, his socialist father is against it, so he flees to his wealthy uncle’s place, and steals a painting to fund his outfit, and chaos ensues. The novel explores themes of family, anti-fascism, hedonism, and spirituality.
5) ‘Eyeless in Gaza’ (1936)
The title of this critically acclaimed novel derives from John Milton’s Samson Agonistes, a 1671 drama. It tells the story of a man named Samson who is captured by the Philistines, has his eyes burned out, and forced to work on a mill in the Gaza Strip. The chapters are not in chronological order and tell the story of the man’s life in four separate sections. It explores themes of death, disillusionment, high society, and the meaning of life.