Aldous Huxley was
born in England on July 26, 1894 into a family of scholars. Huxley was meant to study medicine
like his father, however when he was 16 he got an eye infection, which left him almost blind. Huxley experienced other painful
situations before however, like when he was 14 when his mother died from cancer. Such terrible experiences gave him a cynical
outlook into human existence, which one can see in his writings. When he graduated from Oxford University, instead of following his
father’s footstep of becoming a doctor, Huxley chose the literary world instead.
In 1916, Aldous Huxley
published his first book, which was a collection of poems and 3 years later, he married Maria Nys. In 1920, they had their
first child, Matthew Huxley. They Huxleys traveled all around Europe and the other continents including, India and the United States
in 1926. Aldous Huxley enjoyed his stay in the United States,
the way people lived, however he did not feel not happy about the way Americans expressed their freedom of speech and the
wastefulness he saw. He later traveled to Italy and the Soviet
Union, experiencing their system (fascism and communism). The experiences of living in different countries and
their system, especially that of Fascist Italy and Communist Russia, were strong influences for Huxley’s dystopias that
he described in his books, like Brave New World.
In 1928 Huxley wrote the
best-seller Point Counter Point, and in 1932 in just four months he wrote Brave New World. In the time it took Huxley before
writing Brave New World, he had already a written six other books of stories, poems, essays, and plays. However, none of them
were as major as his previous book or as Brave New World was to be.
In 1937, Huxley and his
family went to visit the United States again and a year later they went
to Hollywood, California.
While he was in Hollywood, Huxley became a screenwriter, situating himself and his family in
California, where he would remain the rest of his life there.
To express how he felt living in California, he wrote After Many a Summer. In 1946 Huxley wrote a Foreword to Brave New World
and in that same year he also published The Perennial Philosophy and the anthology of texts. He gave his own commentaries
on the books about the mystical and religious approaches to a healthy life and society. Years later, in 1958 Huxley then published
Brave New World Revisited, which was a set of essays on real life problems and ideas that were found in the novel, such as
overpopulations, over-reorganization, and the psychological methods to influenced people.
His travels to Asia and
India in the 1950s were important to Huxley’s life because he became interested in the Easter philosophy of Buddhism.
In the same decade, Huxley also became involved in psychedelic drugs such as mescaline and LSD. His experiences with drugs
also had influenced in some of his books, like Doors of Perception (1954) and Heaven and Hell (1956). He based these non-fiction
books on his own experiences in taking mescaline under supervision. His other book, Island (1962), which took him five years
to write was another book based on drugs. Island is widely seen as an “antidote” or the opposite of the mind controlling-government
created utopia of Brave New World. The main drug mentioned in Brave New World was “soma”, which was a tranquilizer
as well as an intoxicant that produced artificial happiness, which made people feel content about the lack of freedom they
had. In his book Island, he portrayed the way the people used LSD for religious purposes.
Among Aldous Huxley’s
47 books, he wrote an essay on ecology, which helped inspire today’s environmental movement against the Green House
effect. Huxley could not attain his American citizenship because of his beliefs as a pacifist. After his wife Maria died in
1955, he married Laura Achera a year later. Huxley remained almost blind throughout his life and died in November 22, of 1963.
When he died, he was cremated and his ashes were taken to England and were buried
in the same place where his parents were at.