There are 22 critical essays on Aldous Huxley.
Critical Essays on Aldous Huxley
Critical Essay by Maria Schubert
8,163 words, approx. 27 pages
In the following essay, Schubert maintains Huxley's short fiction is mainly concerned with humans' inescapable predestinatio, and that the predominant stylistic device he uses to express this is irony.
Kulwant Singh Gill
5,382 words, approx. 18 pages
In the following essay, Gill discusses Aldous Huxley's experimentations with LSD as a means of reaching spiritual enlightenment, concluding that Huxley ultimately failed because of his inability to overcome his "intellectual baggage. "
Critical Essay by Charles M. Holmes
4,152 words, approx. 14 pages
In the following excerpt from his full-length study of Huxley's works, Holmes discusses the early story “Eupompus Gave Splendour to Art by Numbers” and notes its autobiographical elements.
Critical Essay by Charles M. Holmes
3,227 words, approx. 11 pages
[Huxley's] early poetry is a record of the highly complicated inner struggle which influenced, even determined the theme and the shape of his much more popular, much more successful fiction. After The Burning Wheel he quickly produced Jonah (… 1917), The Defeat of Youth (… 1918) and Leda (… 1920), and he appeared several times in the annuals Oxford Poetry and Wheels. Although this work shows some development in technique, some improvement in quality, it illustrates more clearly H...
Critical Essay by Kenneth Payson Kempton
1,984 words, approx. 7 pages
In the following study of “Nuns at Luncheon,” Kempton offers two interpretations of the satirical story: as a tale within an anecdote which is a fiction that ends as a polemic, and as a straightforward realistic piece that is no less satirical for being objectified and held in control.
Critical Essay by Arthur F. Beringause
1,908 words, approx. 6 pages
In the following essay, Beringause contends that an analysis of “The Gioconda Smile” reveals that Huxley is more than a “negative propagandist who satirizes negative nostrums.”
Critical Essay by Jerome Meckier
1,805 words, approx. 6 pages
Despite the fact that their tone perceptively darkens, Aldous Huxley's first three novels—and for freshness and exuberance they may be his finest comic achievement—seem at first glance much too similar. The same characters appear from one novel to the next under different names that one tends to regard as aliases; and the situations, though never repetitious, seem ultimately to support a basic repertoire of themes. Thus an examination of Crome Yellow (1921) leaves one as thrilled with H...
Critical Essay by Donald J. Watt
1,374 words, approx. 5 pages
In the following essay, Watt argues that in his story “The Gioconda Smile,” Huxley crystallizes a significant theme that appears in his work as he seeks value and meaning in life—the absurdity of the hedonist.
Critical Essay by Laurence Brander
1,355 words, approx. 5 pages
The essay has become a neglected form. The rush of progress has made it too expensive to print what essayists have to say, and we regret it even more than the loss of the short story. For it cheers us to listen to an amusing man of great intelligence, especially when he talks about himself. Huxley satisfies this desire in [Along the Road] more than anywhere else. He is talking about the great things in his own civilisation and we shall see in [Beyond the Mexique Bay] that when he wanders in alien lands amon...
Critical Essay by Charlotte Legates
1,316 words, approx. 4 pages
[The] paintings of Pieter Brueghel the Elder had a profound influence on the writing of Aldous Huxley. Huxley seems to have been attracted to Brueghel's attitude toward life. Both artists saw individuals as isolated, yet forming a pattern of existence. Both saw a juxtaposition of tragedy and comedy as the nature of both life and art. Both were fascinated recorders of social customs and events. Both celebrated life above art, seeing art as a tool to record reality rather than an ideal to shape reality...
Critical Review by Herbert S. Gorman
1,150 words, approx. 4 pages
In the following review of Limbo, originally published in The New Republic in 1920, Gorman compares Huxley's work to Max Beerbohm's.
Critical Review by Joseph Wood Krutch
1,056 words, approx. 4 pages
In the following review originally published in the Nation in 1926, Krutch calls “Two or Three Graces” a “grotesquely tragic story” that for all its ironical detachment is essentially concerned with moral questions and “the world and its ways.”
Critical Review by P. H. Newby
1,017 words, approx. 3 pages
In the following review of Collected Short Stories, Newby finds Huxley's short stories strained and anti-intellectual, contending that Huxley is not a true short story writer despite the brilliant analysis and observation revealed in some tales.
Critical Review by V. S. Pritchett
1,010 words, approx. 3 pages
In the following review of Collected Short Stories, Pritchett contends that the short story form was indadequate for Huxley's “great scoldings.”
Critical Essay by Francis Wyndham
914 words, approx. 3 pages
Reading a book by Aldous Huxley is like being entertained by a host who is determined that one should not suffer a moment's boredom and works perhaps a bit too hard to ensure one's continual amusement. The fruit of his considerable erudition is lavished on his readers in flattering profusion: quotations from literature, references to art, history and science—if one takes the allusion, it is with a pleasant sense of sharing the author's culture, and if not one is privileged to lea...
Critical Review by Henry Hazlitt
839 words, approx. 3 pages
In the following review of Brief Candles, Hazlitt argues that Huxley brings a message to his stories—that if one tries to be superhuman, one becomes subhuman.
Critical Review by William Jacob Cuppy
835 words, approx. 3 pages
In the review of Mortal Coils below, which was originally published in the New York Sunday Tribune in 1922, Cuppy rejects earlier assessments of this collection as superficial, insisting that Huxley is a serious writer.
Critical Review by Times Literary Supplement
714 words, approx. 2 pages
In the following review of Little Mexican, originally published in the Times Literary Supplement in 1924, the critic praises the “elasticity” in Huxley's work, admiring what others might criticize as disproportionate description and indulgence of literary power.
Critical Essay by Frederick J. Hoffman
674 words, approx. 2 pages
Huxley has often demonstrated in his novels the fact that ideas may possess qualities which are comparable with those which animate persons—and this particularly in a period of time when ideas are not fixed, calculated, or limited by canons of strict acceptance or rejection. Ideas, as they are used in Huxley, possess, in other words, dramatic qualities. Dominating as they very often do the full sweep of his novels, they appropriate the fortunes and careers which ordinarily belong to persons. (p. 190)...
Critical Review by L. P. Hartley
605 words, approx. 2 pages
In the following review of Two or Three Graces, originally published in the Saturday Review in 1926, Hartley calls Huxley a “literary acrobat” whose perfect execution of difficult feats sometimes leaves readers disappointed because there is little to glean behind the lucidity of his words.
Critical Review by Virginia Woolf
583 words, approx. 2 pages
In the following review of Limbo, originally published in The Times Literary Supplement in 1920, Woolf calls Huxley's stories clever, amusing, interesting, and well written.
Critical Essay by Arnold Bennett
262 words, approx. 1 pages
In the following excerpt from his journals, the noted author and critic Bennett generally approves of the characterization in the tales in Little Mexican but says the stories have no proper end and the characters are drawn a little too thoroughly.
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