Aldous Huxley was born on 26th July, 1894, in Godalming, England. Huxley completed his first (unpublished) novel at the age of 17 and began writing seriously in his early 20s.
He spent much of his time in Italy until the late 1930s, when he settled in California. He established himself as a major author with his first two published novels, CromeYellow and Antic Hay.
But it is for Brave New World that he is most remembered today. Published in 1932, Brave New World arose out of Huxley’s distrust of 20th-century politics and technology.
He started out intending to write a parody of H.G. Wells’ utopian novel
Men Like Gods (1923). He ended by envisioning a future where society functions like one of Henry Ford’s assembly lines: a mass-produced culture in which people are fed a steady diet of bland amusements and take an antidepressant called soma to keep themselves from feeling anything negative.
Brave New World is often compared with George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1948), since they each offer a view of a dystopian future. Cultural critic Neil Postman spelled out the difference between the two books as follows:
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.”
“Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.”
“Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.”
“Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture. … In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.”