This collection contains signed letters and manuscripts written by Aldous Huxley between 1916 and 1963. The bulk of the letters were sent to Huxley's friend Robert Nichols, an English poet and dramatist, between 1916 and 1935. The manuscripts included are for the novel Antic Hay, the essay "America and the Future," the book Arabia Infelix and Other Poems, and the poem "Fifth Philosopher's Song, From Leda." The manuscripts for "America and the Future" and Arabia Infelix show Huxley's corrections to his work.
The collection is arranged in two series, one of manuscripts and one of correspondence. The items are arranged chronologically within each box.
Much of Aldous Huxley's personal collection of manuscripts, diaries, and papers were destroyed when his Los Angeles home burned in 1960, enhancing the significance of this collection. Special Collections also houses a large number of Huxley's books, including many first editions and autographed copies.
Open for research.
Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.
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Aldous Huxley was born in 1894 to a British family whose forebears included outspoken Darwin advocate Thomas Henry Huxley, his grandfather, and poet Matthew Arnold, his great uncle. Huxley's career as a writer began in the 1920s with a sequence of novels and short story collections which lampooned the pretensions of post World War I society. Interested in a variety of literary forms, Huxley also published books of essays, travel observations, and poetry. In 1928, he published the novel Point Counter Point, an ambitious work with a vast cast of characters which explored multiple points of view and the multiple aspects of experience.
In 1932, Huxley released the book which would become his most famous, Brave New World. In this cautionary tale of the future, babies are bred in test tubes to become workers who, as adults, are kept docile through games, "sleep teaching," and the calming drug "soma." The book's success brought him celebrity and fortune, but the novels which followed suffered from Huxley's inclusion of his own instructive rhetoric. Still as prolific as ever, he continued to churn out additional stories, essays, plays, literary criticism and, following his 1937 move to Southern California, several Hollywood screenplays.
In the final ten years of his life, Huxley experimented with LSD, writing about his experiences with the hallucinogen in his book The Doors of Perception. He died in 1963.
These items were purchased by the University of Houston Libraries from C. Dorman David in September 1964. Items 22 and 23, Box 2, (two 1945 letters) were donated in memory of Mrs. Ethel Romansky.
Julie Grob, 1995
Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository