Brave New World
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Huxley's bleak future prophesized in Brave New World was a capitalist civilization which had been reconstituted through scientific and psychological engineering, a world in which people are genetically designed to be passive and useful to the ruling class. Satirical and disturbing, Brave New World is set some 600 years ahead, in "this year of stability, A.F. 632"--the A.F. standing for After Ford, meaning the godlike Henry Ford. "Community, Identity, Stability," is the motto. Reproduction is controlled through genetic engineering, and people are bred into a rigid class system. As they mature, they are conditioned to be happy with the roles that society has created for them. The rest of their lives are devoted to the pursuit of pleasure through sex, recreational sports, the getting and having of material possessions, and taking a drug called Soma. Concepts such as family, freedom, love, and culture are considered grotesque. Against this backdrop, a young man known as John the Savage is brought to London from the remote desert of New Mexico. What he sees in the new civilization a "brave new world" (quoting Shakespeare's The Tempest). However, ultimately, John challenges the basic premise of this society in an act that threatens and fascinates its citizens. Huxley uses his entire prowess to throw the idea of utopia into reverse, presenting us what is known as the "dystopian" novel. When Brave New World was written (1931), neither Hitler nor Stalin had risen to power. Huxley saw the enduring threat to society from the dark side of scientific and social progress, and mankind's increasing appetite for simple amusement. Brave New World is a work that indicts the idea of progress for progress sake and is backed up with force and reason.
Huxley's story shows a futuristic World State where all emotion, love, art, and human individuality have been replaced by social stability. An ominous warning to the world's population, this literary classic is a must-read.
Aldous Huxley’s prophetic novel of ideas warned of a terrible future then 600 years away. Though Brave New World was published less than a century ago in 1932, many elements of the novel’s dystopic future now seem an eerily familiar part of life in the 21st century. These essays analyze the influence of Brave New World as a literary and philosophical document and describe how Huxley forecast the problems of late capitalism. Topics include the anti-utopian ideals represented by the rigid caste system depicted, the novel’s influence on the philosophy of “culture industry” philosophers Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, the Nietzschean birth of tragedy in the novel’s penultimate scene, and the relationship of the novel to other dystopian works.
Wandering into Brave New World explores the historical contexts and contemporary sources of Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel which, seventy years after its initial publication remains the best known and most discussed dystopian work of the twentieth century. This new study addresses a number of questions which still remain open. Did his round-the-world trip in 1925-1926 provide material for the novel? Did India’s caste system contribute to the novel’s human levels? Is there an overarching pattern to the names of the novel/s characters? Has the role of Hollywood in the novel been underestimated? Is Lenina Crown a representative 1920s “flapper”? Did Huxley have knowledge of and sources for his Indian reservation characters and scenes quite independent of and more accurate than those of D. H. Lawrence’s writings? Did Huxley’s visit to Borneo contribute anything to the novel? New research allows substantive answers and even explains why Huxley linked such figures as Henry Ford and Sigmund Freud. It also shows how the novel overcomes its intense grounding in 1920s political turmoil to escape into the timelessness of dystopian fiction.
This collection of Huxley short stories contains After the Fireworks which is the length of a short novel and deals with the predicament of a well-known writer who finds himself approached as an oldish man, by an importunate female admirer who aspires at all costs to be his mistress. A further three stories are included, which are, Chawdron, The Rest Cure and The Claxtons. This is a must read for all Huxley fans.
Created by Harvard students for students everywhere, each title in the 'Sparknotes' series contains complete plot summary and analysis, key facts about the work, an analysis of the major characters, suggested essay topics, themes, motifs, and symbols, and an explanation of important quotations.
In 1958, author Aldous Huxley wrote what some would call a sequel to his novel Brave New World (1932) but the sequel did not revisit the story or the characters. Instead, Huxley chose to revisit the world he created in a set of twelve essays in which he meditates on how his fantasy seemed to be becoming a reality and far more quickly than he ever imagined. That Huxley’s book Brave New World had been largely prophetic about a dystopian future a great distress to Huxley. By 1958, Huxley was sixty-four-years old; the world had been transformed by the events of World War II and the terrifying advent of nuclear weapons. Peeking behind the Iron Curtain where people were not free but instead governed by Totalitarianism, Huxley could only bow to grim prophecy of his friend, author George Orwell, (author of the book 1984). It struck Huxley that people were trading their freedom and individualism in exchange for the illusory comfort of sensory pleasure--just as he had predicted in Brave New World. Huxley despairs of contemporary humankind’s willingness to surrender freedom for pleasure. Huxley worried that the rallying cry, “Give me liberty or give me death” could be easily replaced by “Give me television and hamburgers, but don’t bother me with the responsibilities of liberty.” Huxley saw hope in education; education that could teach people to see beyond the easy slogans and efficient ends and anesthetic-like influence of propaganda.