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Aldous Huxley

he wanted to be a scientist, but became a writer instead

Aldous Huxley

Aldous Leonard Huxley was born in Godalming, Surrey, England, on July 26, 1894, into a very distinguished family. His father, Leonard Huxley, was a noted biographer, editor, and poet; he was also the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, a noted biologist who helped develop the theory of evolution. His mother was the sister of Mrs. Humphrey Ward, the novelist; the niece of Matthew Arnold, the poet; and the granddaughter of Thomas Arnold, an educator who became a character in the novel Tom Brown's Schooldays.

Huxley studied at Eton College from 1908 to 1913. At the age of 16, he suffered an attack of keratitis punctata that left him nearly blind. He recovered enough vision to go on to Oxford University and graduate with honors, but not enough to do the scientific work he had dreamed of doing.

Huxley published his first book, a collection of poems in 1916.

During the 1920's Huxley formed a close friendship with D.H. Lawrence, with whom he traveled in Italy and France.

Brave New World, perhaps Huxley's most famous and well-known work, was written in 1931, and was published in 1934.

Believing that the California climate would help his eyesight, Huxley came to the United States in 1937; in 1938 he went to Hollywood, where he became a screenwriter. He spent most of the rest of his life in California.

In the 1950's Huxley became interested in psychedelic drugs such as mescaline and LSD, which he took about a dozen times over a period of ten years.

Aldous Huxley died in Los Angeles on November 22, 1963. He was cremated, and his ashes were buried in his parents' grave in England.


Crome Yellow (1921)
Antic Hay (1923)
Those Barren Leaves (1925)
Point Counter Point (1928)
Do What You Will (1929)
Brave New World (1934)
After Many a Summer Dies the Swan (1954)


The Perennial Philosophy (1946)--anthology of texts with his own commentaries on mystical and religious approaches to life
Brave New World Revisited (1958)--essays on real-life problems and ideas initially introduced in Brave New World
Literature and Science


The Devils of Loudun (1952)--a psychological study of an episode in French history
Doors of Perception (1954)--based on his own experiences with mescaline
Heaven and Hell (1956)--based on his own experiences with mescaline

Honors and Awards

Award of Merit for the Novel, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, 1959

Family Life

Aldous Huxley married Maria Nys, a Belgian, in 1919. The couple had one child, Matthew, who was born in 1920. Maria Huxley died in 1955. Huxley married Laura Archera a year later.

Aldous Huxley: The Author and His Times

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The Robinson Library >> English Literature >> 1900-1960

This page was last updated on 06/11/2018.