British author Aldous Huxley.

Aldous Huxley

(1894 - 1963)

Aldous Huxley derived the title for his 1932 novel Brave New World from the final scene of The Tempest, when Miranda exclaims, “How beauteous mankind is! / O brave new world! / That has such people in it!” Huxley in 1954 published an account of his experiments with psychedelic drugs, The Doors of Perception, taking this title from a line in William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and later providing Jim Morrison with the name for his band. He died at the age of sixty-nine in 1963, receiving a dose of LSD on his deathbed.

All Writing

The right to the pursuit of happiness is nothing else than the right to disillusionment phrased in another way.

—Aldous Huxley, 1956


“In 1931, when Brave New World was being written, I was convinced that there was still plenty of time,” wrote Aldous Huxley in 1958. He’d thought “the completely organized society, the scientific caste system, the abolition of free will by methodical conditioning, the servitude made acceptable by regular doses of chemically induced happiness” were all far off, but now he had come to feel “a good deal less optimistic.” It seemed his prophecies were “coming true much sooner than I thought they would.”

It is delightful to read on the spot the impressions and opinions of tourists who visited a hundred years ago, in the vehicles and with the aesthetic prejudices of the period, the places which you are visiting now. The voyage ceases to be a mere tour through space; you travel through time and thought as well.

—Aldous Huxley, 1925

If it were not for the intellectual snobs who pay in solid cash—the tribute which philistinism owes to culture, the arts would perish with their starving practitioners. Let us thank heaven for hypocrisy.

—Aldous Huxley, 1926

A large city cannot be experientially known; its life is too manifold for any individual to be able to participate in it.

—Aldous Huxley, 1934

I’m afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery.

—Aldous Huxley, 1925


Vomitorium, noun: A large passageway in an ancient amphitheater out of which crowds emptied. In Antic Hay, published in 1924, Aldous Huxley became the first recorded author in English to state erroneously that it was a domestic room in which overfed Romans vomited after feasts.

Feasts must be solemn and rare, or else they cease to be feasts. 

—Aldous Huxley, 1929


On November 22, 1963, Aldous Huxley, bedridden and dying, requested on a writing tablet that his wife Laura give him a 100 microgram dose of LSD. As she went to get the drug from the medicine cabinet, Laura was perplexed to see the doctor and nurses watching TV. She gave him a second dose a few hours later, and by 5:20 p.m. he had died. Laura later learned that the TV had been showing coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, who had been pronounced dead at 1:00 p.m. that day.


After receiving a copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1949, Aldous Huxley wrote to George Orwell, “I need not tell you, yet once more, how fine and how profoundly important the book is. May I speak instead of the thing with which the book deals—the ultimate revolution?” By this he meant “the revolution which lies beyond politics and economics, and which aims at total subversion of the individual’s psychology and physiology.” Thirty-two years earlier, Huxley had taught French to Orwell at Eton College.

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