Sunday, April 28, 2013

Brave New World

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The origin of the title of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is found in Shakespeare's "The Tempest", specifically Miranda's speech, Act V, Scene I:
O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't.

—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206
Shakespeare's Miranda (The Tempest) had grown up on an isolated island. She had known only her father, servants, spirits and an "enslaved savage". There was one notable exception: Ariel, "...a spirit of the air", who had refused to serve the witch, Sycorax. As a result, Ariel was imprisoned in a tree until rescued by Prospero.

Early on, Ariel reveals a plot to murder Prospero. Ariel's obedience is an important symbol of Prospero's humanity, ameliorating Prospero and humanizing actions taken by Prospero against his enemies.

Upon seeing other people at last, Miranda is understandably overcome. She utters the famous line: "O brave new world, That has such people in't." It is irony if not sarcasm. What she has witnessed is not civil behavior but that of drunken louts. Huxley employs the same device when the "savage" John witnesses a a "brave new world". Huxley's work --Brave New World --dates to 1931 when he was living in Italy. Already established as a writer and social satirist, Huxley was by this time a regular contributor to Vanity Fair and Vogue. "Brave New World" was Huxley's fifth novel and his first "dystopian work". Huxley was always eager to credit utopian works by various authors to include H.G. Wells, notably his A Modern Utopia (1905) and Men Like Gods of 1923. It was Wells' "hopeful vision of the future" that inspired Huxley to write a parody.

This "parody" became Brave New World. Huxley's vision of the future, however, was quite unlike his original inspirations. Huxley served up what some critics have called a "frightening vision of the future". Huxley himself called it a "negative utopia", a "dystopia". He was clearly inspired by by Wells' own The Sleeper Awakes -ahead of its time with respect to corporate imposed tyranny and "behavioral conditioning".
In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.[1] In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer listed Brave New World number 53 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time",[2] and the novel was listed at number 87 on the BBC's survey The Big Read.[3]

Brave New World


Anonymous said...


curiously the "Jewish" so-called state resembles a rabid dog...on steroids with its' hair on fire...

surely "THEY" won't commit mass suicide....with NUKES !!

apparently "THEY" are an existentialist threat to all mankind....did Shakespeare say that, too ?


Noor al Haqiqa said...

When I was 17, so very many many decades ago, my graduating English essay was on Dystopian novels. I chose Brave New World, 1984 and We. Not the usual fare back in 1963 when most chose rather innocuous topics.

Since then I have found a few novels I would have thrown into the mix such as The Handmaid's Tale or a few others I cannot remember at the time.

At that age I was also happened to stumble across a very early edition of Playboy (from under some rocks in the forest, my brother's stash) in which I read an article about the shadowy grey-suited men who ran our entire planet. This was shortly after the assassination of JFK and I was at the time reading Captains and Kings by Taylor Caldwell, a "fictional account" of the Kennedy family.

Those things changed my thought processes and completely separated me from my peers on an intellectual level. However, as a result I have watched our world become an unfortunate mix primarily of 1984 and Brave New World.

It is my personal conclusion that North America is well on the way to becoming that land of savages as portrayed in BNW. All the signs are there. Once the final bones have been crushed, the last drop of financial probability drained, the last soldier unnecessary, the deterioration and the rot are already well in place ~ it is just a matter of time ~ Unless people waken and do it sooner than later.

Huxley and Orwell were of the elite class, as were Verne and Wells and so many others.... they wrote from educated and primed imaginations.

Predictive programming? Perhaps.

Len Hart said...

Noor al Haqiqa said...

I read an article about the shadowy grey-suited men who ran our entire planet. This was shortly after the assassination of JFK and I was at the time reading Captains and Kings by Taylor Caldwell, a "fictional account" of the Kennedy family.

I am struck with the vivid image conveyed by your term: "...shadowy gray suited men". This 'type' which some psychologists have called "inauthentic" persons have defined the modern era. I suppose every era has feared its own demise and that of the world itself. During the long fall of Rome many must have concluded that the end fo the world was nigh. And for many, it was.

Thank you for commenting.