“Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.”
– Aldous Huxley
Best known for Brave New World, considered by most critics as one of the ten best English language novels of the 20th Century, and for the non-fiction book The Doors of Perception, Huxley was born this day in 1894 in London to a family of writers and educators.
He was already writing as a young teen and by his early 20s was editing the distinguished magazine Oxford Poetry at a time when others his age were still finishing their studies or interviewing for positions. He had dozens of short stories and poetry pieces published before age 30, then switched to novels, all successful though none so much as Brave New World in 1931. Following the novel’s immense success, he started traveling the world and writing about that. His travel books are among the best ever written. He finished his career as a television and film scriptwriter in the United States, where he lived until his death in 1963.
His writing was focused on “that space between things known and unknown. In between are the doors of perception.”
Huxley was widely acknowledged as one of the pre-eminent intellectuals of his time and was nominated no fewer than seven times for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Of Brave New World, he said he wrote it out of fear that mankind would lose individual identity in the future and needed to be prepared. “The most distressing thing that can happen to a prophet is to be proved wrong,” he said. “The next most distressing thing is to be proved right.”
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