Monthly Archives: August 2012

Aldous Huxley

“Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches.” This quotation from Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which was first published in 1932, nicely captures the attitude of the consumer society depicted in the novel – a society in which people are created in hatcheries, sexual promiscuity is encouraged, and a Prozac-like drug named “soma” is always available to eliminate anxiety and promote happiness. When it was published, Brave New World received highly critical reviews, and it has repeatedly been banned and labelled obscene for the approach to sexuality that some see it as promoting.  Although set in the distant future and uncannily relevant to  many aspects of today’s society, in 1932 it was a response totalitarianism and to the economic depression that was gripping Europe and North America.

From 1937 until his death in 1963, Huxley lived in Los Angeles. He was an outspoken advocate of the use hallucinogens to achieve mystical enlightenment and in that respect influenced the drug culture of the ‘sixties and later.  He died on the same day as C.S. Lewis and John F. Kennedy

An interview with Aldous Huxley 


Conceptions of the Future: Orwell vs. Huxley

                                                                                                                                                         

“Aldous Huxley.” Wikipedia-The Free Enclyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 20 July 2012. Web. 1 Aug 2012.
“Brave New World.” Wikipedia-The Free Enclyclopedia.Wikimedia Foundation Inc. 27 July 2012. Web. 1 Aug 2012.

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James Joyce

James Joyce’s novella “The Dead,” like the collection of short stories in which it appeared (Dubliners [1914]) and his great novel Ulysses (1922), is set in Dublin, where Joyce was born in 1882. Partly to gain perspective on Irish society and culture, Joyce spent most of his life in self-imposed exile in France and Italy – a decision that aligned him with many other important modern writers such as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, both of whom abandoned their native America for Europe. Among Joyce’s  major innovations is what Eliot calls the “mythic method,” which is to say, the use of patterns such as that found in the Homer’s Odyssey to give shape and meaning to the perceived chaos of history, experience, personal consciousness, and contemporary life.

Joyce’s work has influenced a great many writers, including Samuel Beckett, Jorge Luis Borges, and Salman Rushdie. His novels and short stories have also given rise to a critical industry of gargantuan proportions and complexity. Every year, his life and work are celebrated on June 16, the day in which the entire action of Ulysses takes place (see Bloomsday).

Here for comparison are two versions of the ending of “The Dead”:

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