Reason in retreat: the novels of Aldous Huxley.

McGrath, Elizabeth Anne (1961) Reason in retreat: the novels of Aldous Huxley. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Aldous Huxley has been wiring on all topics and in most literary genres since 1916. He is particularly well known for his essays and for his novels, which are the satirical classics of the twentieth century. But Huxley the novelist has yet to be definitively placed in literary history. He enjoyed considerable éclat in the twenties and thirties and his elegant satires, Crome Yellow (1921) and Antic Hay (1923), both shocked and delighted the young and almost young generation. His later novels shocked too, but for a different reason. Huxley had been considered the typical disappointed rationalist and aesthete of the post-war era. With the publication of Eyeless in Gaza (1936) it became clear that rationalism and aestheticism had, as far as Huxley was concerned, had their day, and for him, at least, the way of the mystic offered greater intellectual and moral rewards. Co-incident with this change in attitude came a change in Huxley’s satirical technique. The polished, graceful, elegance of the early satire gave way to a savagery and bluntness obviously calculated to disturb rather than amuse the reader. In Ape and Essence (1949) this savagery and harshness reached its peak and, as in the fourth book of Gulliver’s Travels, the message and the moral tended to become lost amid the overpowering ferocity of the delivery. Huxley, it seemed, had lost, not only his sense of artistic perspective, but his talent for acute observation of empirical fact. -- The Genius and the Goddess (1955), proved Ape and Essence to be but a temporary lapse in Huxley’s literary career, and showed also that he had at last effected a compromise between his awareness of evil in the world and his respect for human potential. -- Huxley’s essays, published in twenty volumes, from 1923-1960, provide an illuminating sidelight on the Huxley of the novels and state, more directly and personally, many of the same theses.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/11014
Item ID: 11014
Additional Information: Bibliography : leaves [110]-115.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1961
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963

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