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'Brave New World': Contexts and Legacies by Jonathan Greenberg, Nathan Waddell

By Jonathan Greenberg, Nathan Waddell

This selection of essays presents new readings of Huxley’s vintage dystopian satire, Brave New international (1932). best overseas students examine from new angles the old contexts during which the ebook was once written and the cultural legacies during which it looms huge. the quantity affirms Huxley’s prescient opinions of modernity and his carrying on with relevance to debates approximately political strength, paintings, and the vexed dating among nature and humankind. person chapters discover connections among Brave New World and the character of utopia, the Thirties American Technocracy flow, schooling and social regulate, excitement, replica, futurology, inter-war periodical networks, motherhood, ethics and the Anthropocene, islands, and the ethical lifestyles. the amount additionally contains a ‘Foreword’ written by way of David Bradshaw, one of many world’s most sensible Huxley students. well timed and always illuminating, this assortment is vital examining for college kids, critics, and Huxley fans alike. 

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Campy and cartoonish as they may be, these films express ‘the century’s continuing preoccupation with the socio-political function of pleasure’ and articulate ‘the utopic hedonism’ of the same counterculture that landed Huxley on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). Like the feminist science fiction of the era, low-budget cinema rediscovers the utopian or emancipatory possibilities of technological innovation. Yet utopia and dystopia are far from the only generic contexts in which to understand this anomalous work.

Helmholtz, a lecturer at the ‘College of Emotional Engineering (Department of Writing)’, is a composer of feely scenarios and ‘hypnopaedic rhymes’ (BNW 57). His one openly dissident act is to read out his own verses on solitude (doggerel though they are) to his students, but this is enough to establish him as the symbolic figure of the poet in utopia, the poet regarded as a subversive presence and a potential corrupter of the city’s youth. ) John and Helmholtz ‘[take] to one another at once’ (BNW 159), even though Helmholtz is reduced to uncontrollable laughter when John reads a favourite passage from Romeo and Juliet ‘with an intense and quivering passion’ (BNW 160).

Perhaps even more surprisingly, Laura Frost’s contribution suggests that if we place Brave New World in the context of Wilhelm Reich’s 1930s anti-fascist psychoanalytic writings on sexual liberation and bodily pleasure, then we can find a Huxleyan legacy in Roger Vadim’s cult film Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy (1968) or even in the softcore parody film Flesh Gordon (1974), both of which amplify ‘the playful, campy, and bawdy notes’ that Huxley’s novel sounds but that his readers often fail INTRODUCTION 11 to hear.

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