A compelling, disturbing look back at a novel that's only more and more relevant as time goes by
I’ve been covering aldous huxley’s brave new world in one of my classes lately, and it led me to be curious about huxley’s follow-up, brave new world revisiteda series of essays written over 25 years after the initial publication of brave new world, revisited finds huxley looking at his novel and assessing how accurate he was. his basic thesis? if anything, brave new world was optimistic in thinking it would take us a few hundred years to get to that point; to the huxley of revisited, we’ll be there within decades. revisited isn’t a novel, and it isn’t interested in being easily accessible; this is political theory, biological discussion, historical analysis, and more, all filtered through huxley’s unique perspective. revisited finds huxley comparing his novel to orwell’s 1984, discussing how hitler and stalin both change – and fail to change – some of his original ideas, noting the growth in advertising and television jingles, and just generally realizing that time has only made brave new world more and more relevant. sadly, the same applies to a modern reader, who will find some pain in huxley’s comments about the perils of democracy being open to manipulation by sound bites and emotional bias, the willingness of people to be distracted by fleeting entertainments while real problems go unaddressed, and the unease of a society to ever be questioned. yes, some of huxley’s issues are out of date – he remains preoccupied with subliminal and hypnopaedic teachings, neither of which ever proved successful or worth continuing. but that goes for surprisingly little of this book, which instead draws out much of what makes brave new world so uncomfortably relevant, allows huxley’s brilliant and odd mind to shine through, and leaves you uncomfortable and disquieted about the state of the world. a compelling, powerful companion piece to a depressingly relevant novel.