LITERATURE AND SCIENCE by Aldous Huxley

LITERATURE AND SCIENCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

These are Aldous Huxley's silver tongued speculations on the dichotomy between ""two cultures"", that of the man of letters and that of the man of the laboratory. Though he attacks Snow's ""bland scientism"", he feels 20th century litterateurs are lling in an ivory tower, immune to the wonders of Heisenberg and Einstein. He otes the linguistic Iron Curtain: on one side, scientific conceptualism; on the other, literary crystallization. He offers examples of woolly-headed warfare. arwin hating Shakespeare, Blake hating Newton. Such paranoid purism must end. ow He prescribes a philosophy of emergence and organization, a meeting between technology and aesthetics, a mutual awareness of man's ""manifold amphibiousness"" and nature's ""multiple causation"", expressing simultaneously a truth both private and public. Like all having-your-cake-and-eating-it-too propositions, it's more suggestive than programmatic. And on some points he's quite silly, demanding that poets realize the nightingale's world is one of caterpillars, endocrine glands and territorial possessiveness, not eternal passion, eternal pain. (As the husband in Ibsen keeps saying, ""Fancy that, Hedda""). Anyway, it's all done with the customary brilliance, though without the customary bite; only the Freudian unconscious gets it, defined as ""an underground urinal scribbled over with four-letter graffiti"". All in all, middle drawer Huxley.

Publisher: Harper