Aldous Leonard Huxley, born in Godalming, Surrey, England on July 26, 1894, was a writer best known for his novel Brave New World. He authored nearly fifty books throughout his life.
Born into a family of writers and scholars to Leonard Huxley and Julia Arnold, Huxley’s early childhood was characterized by education both in the home and later at Eton College. His home education was put to a stop when his mother became terminally ill and later died in 1908. Unfortunately, this was not the only tragedy to affect Huxley in the upcoming years. In 1911, Huxley contracted the eye disease keratitis — leaving him partially blind. Despite this, Huxley graduated from college and began seriously writing in his twenties.
Huxley’s first novels, Chrome Yellow and Antic Hay, published in 1921 and 1923 respectively, established his satirical and cutting social commentary. Although he found success with his novels, it was not until 1932 that Huxley wrote his first dystopian novel — Brave New World. In the novel, Huxley explores psychological conditioning and possible negative social effects of scientific progress. In 1936 Huxley continued creating scathing satire of modern society with the novel Eyeless in Gaza.
Shortly after this novel, Huxley relocated from England to the United States in 1937. His subsequent novels contained significant themes of social commentary yet also reflected his growing interest in peaceful resolution and aspects of Hindu spirituality. During this time, Huxley made income from screenwriting for Hollywood.
Notable examples of his work while living in the United States include The Devils of Loudun in 1952 and The Doors of Perception in 1954. In The Devils of Loudun, Huxley explores a historical incident in which nuns were accused of possession. The Doors of Perception details his first experience with the psychedelic drug mescaline in the spring of 1953. This was the first of Huxley’s experiences with psychedelic drugs. His interest in these drugs would later lead to experimentation with LSD.
Huxley’s health began to deteriorate in the early 1960s due to laryngeal cancer. By November of 1963, Huxley was no longer able to speak and was near death. Huxley died at the age of 69.
Huxley’s satirical yet insightful perception of society has led to him being one of the most influential modern writers by both his peers and readers alike. His extensive literary works remain relevant even in modern society.