These great families formed what Annan called an "intellectual aristocracy", who bequeathed to their descendants not money or titles, but rather "some trait of personality, some tradition of behaviour, which did not perish with the passing of the years". Pre-eminent among these high-minded, inter-marrying, multi-generational magnificos were the Macaulays, the Trevelyans, the Arnolds and perhaps most extraordinary of all, the Huxleys.
Even his casual asides have a surprising relevance to our own times. During the first world war, after America's entry, he warned: Europe will no longer be Europe.
The worst fate for a prophet is for his predictions to come true, when everyone resents him for being so clear-eyed. Huxley's greatest novel, Brave New Worldis a far shrewder guess at the likely shape of a future tyranny than Orwell's vision of Stalinist terror in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Huxley's dystopia, with its test-tube babies and recreational drugs, its "feelies" that anticipate virtual reality, differs in one vital way from Orwell's vision of a boot stamping for ever on a human face.
Huxley's victims welcome their own enslavement, revealing the same strains of passivity that lie beneath today's entertainment culture.
For all his prescience, Huxley's star has dimmed since his death inon the same day that John F Kennedy was shot. The president's assassination overshadowed everything else on that grimmest of November days.
A random psychotic act had endangered the world and refuted Huxley's vision of a sane and calculating tyranny. A single deranged man with a mail-order rifle was a more sinister threat than Big Brother, whether in jackboots or a white lab coat.
Another factor in Huxley's decline was his close association with the Bloomsbury Group, that bloodless set who haunt English letters like a coterie of haemophiliac royals.
Huxley's novels of the s, from Antic Hay to Point Counter Pointwere ruthlessly witty satires on the middle class of his day, but have rather lost their sting in the far weirder era of Iris and Delia. But as Nicholas Murray makes clear in his generous and intelligent biography, Huxley soon escaped the Bloomsburies.
He had far deeper roots in the Victorian age, with a rich mix of high- mindedness and a secure moral compass that we find baffling in our culture of soundbite philosophy and focus-group wisdom.
In many ways, Huxley was the last of the great Victorian novelists. He was born ina grandson of the biologist T H Huxley, "Darwin's bulldog".
Matthew Arnold was his great-uncle, and his aunt was the novelist Mrs Humphry Ward.
Secure in this intellectual aristocracy, he might have rebelled and become a great mid-century English eccentric, a liberally minded chairman of the board of film censors, or the first openly agnostic Archbishop of Canterbury.
However, at the age of 16, while an Eton schoolboy, he caught a serious eye infection that left him blind for a year and may have forced him into a more interior vision of himself.
With his one good eye, he read English at Oxford, perhaps the best perspective to take on this dubious subject. He was immensely tall, six feet four-and-a-half inches.
Christopher Isherwood said that he was "too tall. I felt an enormous zoological separation from him. The young Huxley must have had immense charm. Years later, in the south of France, Lawrence died in the arms of Huxley's wife.Aldous Huxley, as a writer of fiction in the 20th century, willingly assumes the role of a modern philosopher-king or literary prophet by examining the essence of .
Italian-born Laura Huxley, a teenage violin virtuoso, played for European royalty and made her American debut at Carnegie Hall before leaving the concert stage to become a renowned psychotherapist and author.
In , Laura married Aldous Huxley, a famous writer and prophet of the 20th century. Jun 23, · Aldous Huxley, one of the great modern thinkers, philosophers, and social commentators of the 20th century, is often hailed as an inspirational figure of the. Mar 17, · In Laura married Aldous Huxley, author of BRAVE NEW WORLD, literary giant and prophet of the 20th century.
In the conservative s, the Huxley home in the Hollywood Hills was the center of the artistic and intellectual avant-garde of Los Angeles/10(14). According to his biographer, Nicholas Murray, in Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual (), Aldous was a "like an 18th-century philosophe, a modern Voltaire", a "prophet".
Born in Surrey in , Aldous later moved to California with his wife Maria and their son Matthew, where he dabbled in writing screenplays and wrote a bestseller, The Art of Seeing (), about his attempts to improve his eyesight. According to his biographer, Nicholas Murray, in Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual (), Aldous was a "like an 18th-century philosophe, a modern Voltaire", a "prophet".