Biographical / Historical
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.