The Life and Works of Aldous Huxley
The Huxley family is one of the most famous, well-regarded families to have ever lived in Britain. Many members were outstanding in their fields of medicine, art, and literature. Aldous Huxley was no exception. A brilliant novelist and essayist, his work remains relevant today.
Born in Surrey, UK in 1894, Aldous Huxley was the third child of Leonard and Julia and the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley. His early life was spent in his father’s botanical laboratory or being schooled by his mother until she fell ill. He attended Eton College and his mother died when he was 14. Three years later, he fell ill with keratisis – an inflammation of the eye’s cornea – that left him nearly blind for almost three years. This prevented him from joining the service during World War II. Instead, Huxley attended Balliol College in Oxford, where he graduated with honors in 1916.
After college, he taught for awhile but wasn’t good at it. He also worked at a chemical plant in the 1920s that eventually became one of the inspirations for his novel Brave New World.
In 1919, he married Maria Nys, a Belgian woman and they had one child, Matthew, in 1920. In 1921, his first novel, Crome Yellow, was published. In it, he captured the lifestyle of the Garsington family, whom he labored for. In 1932, he published Brave New World, his most famous work. Set in London in 2540, it explored the concepts of sleep-learning and reproductive biography.
In 1937, Huxley moved his family to California and his book Ends and Means was published, where he explored the idea that while people want liberty and freedom, they can’t agree on how to get it. In 1938, he became a Vedanist, embracing Hinduism, which inspired his book The Perennial Philosophy. He was also hired for the movie Madame Curie and received a screen credit for Pride and Prejudice plus various other works. On the whole, his Hollywood career was not successful. In 1939, Huxley collaborated with the Vedanta Society of Southern California, producing 48 articles with them. In the 1950s, his interest in science grew as well as his interest in psychedelic drugs. Several of his famous essays were written whilst under the influence of these drugs. In 1955, Maria died of breast cancer and a year later, he married Laura Archera, another author.
Huxley died on November 22, 1963 of cancer. Before his death, he was injected twice with psychedelic drugs, which had become an integral part of his life. He’s buried in England. His explorations of the concepts of the future world influenced countless other authors and his most famous work – Brave New World – is still considered one of the best explorations of a possible future to have ever been written.