ALDOUS HUXLEY, 1894-1963 by Julian- Ed. Huxley

ALDOUS HUXLEY, 1894-1963

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Aldous Huxley's death in 1963 passed largely unnoticed. On the same day the tragedy in Dallas occurred. But there's reason to think that even without such competition, most newspapers would not have highlighted Huxley's demise. He had grown curiously unfashionable and was regarded as a brilliant but burnt-out ""genius,"" a fugitive celebrity of the Twenties and Thirties. It is good then to have this commemorative gathering of essays, tributes and reminiscences which put the man's many-sided personality and achievements in interesting perspective. For the most part, the volume avoids solemnity and, except for Anita Loos' piece, never degenerates into anecdotal chit-chat. Eliot, Stravinsky, Menuhin, Isherwood, Spender and Maurois are the most famous ""names,"" and they all, especially Isherwood, have something pertinent to say. The best selections, however, are from those within the family (e.g. Juliette Huxley's moving account of Aldous' youth) and from some of his oldest friends (Victoria Ocampo, Sybille Bedford, Isaiah Berlin). Huxley was an extraordinary man, and he suffered many sorrows: the suicide of a favorite brother, the death of his mother while in his teens, his almost total blindness, the loss of manuscripts and letters when his California home caught fire, his battle against cancer which had claimed his first wife. Yet he never became self-enclosed. On the contrary, his mind was almost obsessively open. His work is really a testament of continuing discovery, experimentation, expansion--in the arts and sciences as well as with mysticism or LSD. The volume here illuminates a good many of these facets, and suggests that a Huxley biography could be exhilarating.

Publisher: Harper & Row