Brave New World is a novel written in 1931 by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. Set in London of AD 2540, the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, sleep-learning, psychological manipulation, and classical conditioning that combine profoundly to change society. Huxley answered this book with a reassessment in an essay, Brave New World Revisited, and with Island, his final novel. In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 2003, Robert McCrum writing for The Observer listed Brave New World number 53 in "the top 100 greatest novels of all time", and the novel was listed at number 87 on the BBC's survey The Big Read. Title
Brave New World's title derives from Miranda's speech in William Shakespeare's The Tempest, Act V, Scene I: This line itself is ironic; Miranda was raised for most of her life on an isolated island, and the only people she ever knew were her father and his servants, an enslaved savage, and spirits, notably Ariel. When she sees other people for the first time, she is overcome with excitement, and utters, among other praise, the famous line above. However, what she is actually observing is not men acting in a refined or civilized manner, but rather representatives of the worst of humanity, who betrayed or tried to betray their brothers or leaders to get ahead. Huxley employs the same irony when the "savage" John refers to what he sees as a "brave new world". Translations of the title often allude to similar expressions used in domestic works of literature in an attempt to capture the same irony: the French edition of the work is entitled Le Meilleur des mondes, an allusion to an expression used by the philosopher Gottfried Leibniz and satirised in Candide, Ou l'Optimisme by Voltaire . Background
Huxley wrote Brave New World in 1931 while he was living in England. By this time, Huxley had already established himself as a writer and social satirist. He was a contributor to Vanity Fair and Vogue magazines, and had published a collection of his poetry and four successful satirical novels: Crome Yellow, Antic Hay, Those Barren Leaves, and Point Counter Point . Brave New World was Huxley's fifth novel and first dystopian work. Huxley said that Brave New World was inspired by the utopian novels of H. G. Wells, including A Modern Utopia and Men Like Gods . Wells' hopeful vision of the future's possibilities gave Huxley the idea to begin writing a parody of the novel, which became Brave New World. He wrote in a letter to Mrs. Arthur Goldsmith, an American acquaintance, that he had "been having a little fun pulling the leg of H. G. Wells," but then he "got caught up in the excitement of own ideas." Unlike the most popular optimist utopian novels of the time, Huxley sought to provide a frightening vision of the future. Huxley referred to Brave New World as a "negative utopia", somewhat influenced by Wells' own The Sleeper Awakes and the works of D. H. Lawrence. George Orwell believed that Brave New World must have been partly derived from the novel We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. However, in a 1962 letter, Huxley says that he wrote Brave New World long before he had heard of We. According to We translator Natasha Randall, Orwell believed that Huxley was lying. Huxley visited the newly opened and technologically advanced Brunner and Mond plant, part of Imperial Chemical Industries, or ICI, Billingham, United Kingdom, and gives a fine and detailed account of the processes he saw. The introduction to the most recent print of Brave New World states that Huxley was inspired to write the classic novel by this Billingham visit. Although the novel is set in the future it deals with contemporary issues of the early 20th century. The Industrial Revolution had transformed the world. Mass production had made cars, telephones, and radios relatively cheap and widely available throughout the developed world. The...
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