Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World Historical Context. Like all writers, Huxley did not write in a vacuum. At the time he was writing Brave New World , important political, socioeconomic and cultural changes were taking place throughout the world.
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Like all writers, Huxley did not write in a vacuum.
At the time he was writing Brave New World, important political, socioeconomic and cultural changes were taking place throughout the world.
Huxley’s view of man’s future was profoundly influenced by historical changes, as the novel illustrates….
Huxley was deeply troubled by threats to individual freedom and independence; in Europe in the 1920’s and early 1930’s, these were threatened by the rise of totalitarian governments.
Prior to writing BNW in 1931, Huxley had lived in Italy during the 1920’s under Mussolini’s fascist regime.
Huxley abhorred the notion that the state should be more important than the individual, and that the state could exercise total control over its citizens without significant resistance.
Developments in Russia during the 1920’s – in particular Stalin’s rise to power within the Bolshevik government – also illustrated the dangers of a totalitarian state on the left.
“The highest efficiency – of work!
All, that the Party asks - we'll fulfill!”
The perversion of Marxist ideas under Stalin is echoed in Brave New World – some communist ideals are satirized (“everyone belongs to everyone else”, the “workers’” uniforms, etc.).
“(We will give) all our strength and knowledge to the Party and the Motherland”
Ironically, Huxley also attacks many of the same things Marx and Lenin did in “The Communist Manifesto”.
The rise of factories, manufacturing, mass production, huge business monopolies
The fear that man might be reduced to a “cog in the machine,” and that workers were no more than numbers in the giant economic manufacturing apparatus > Alienation of the working man….
The rise of large cities contributed to the feeling that individuals could be lost in the crowd – the large, anonymous mass as opposed to the unique individual.
Keep the historical context of the novel in mind – this might add a dimension to your understanding of the text.
Watch for names - Bernard Marx, Lenina