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After Many a Summer Di...
Aldous Huxley
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After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  1,835 Ratings  ·  149 Reviews

A Hollywood millionaire with a terror of death, whose personal physician happens to be working on a theory of longevity--these are the elements of Huxley's caustic and entertaining satire on man's desire to live indefinitely. A highly sensational plot that will keep astonishing you to practically the final sentence. --The New Yorker

Paperback, 0 pages
Published September 28th 1983 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1939)
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Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 02, 2015 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
I've noticed through the few reviews that I have scanned, and in the comments made by friends who have read this less-known Huxley novel, that it is widely considered to be a lesser work, a novel too bombastic to maintain proper momentum and sustain the reader's attention. To be candid, my roommate told me it took him nine months of toilet-reading to get through it, and he spent the two weeks that I was reading it (actually only a week when you factor in the days and days I spent out of town and ...more
Bill H
Sep 11, 2010 Bill H rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers of Isherwood's A Single Man
Having read no Huxley other than "Brave New World", I took this one up solely on the assumption that Isherwood had included it in his "Single Man" for some good reason. And, of course, he did: themes of mortality and meaning are central here, too.

"After Many a Summer" is a mix of equal parts philosophical musing and straightforward comic novel. The latter -- the main thrust of the storyline, even specific settings, as well as Huxley's style here -- reminded me of nothing so much as Waugh's "The
Sep 14, 2016 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written when Huxley left England and settled in Southern California, After A Many a Summer satirizes Los Angeles culture (money-driven excess, gimcrack reproductions of classical European art and architecture, only bigger) in a way that is quite like Evelyn Waugh's The Loved One (which actually came out 8 years later).
There are a number of stereotypes (grossly exploitative capitalist, his crassly shallow younger show-girl mistress, a gee-whiz young man of science) and a pair of Englishmen, one o
Amy Do
Dec 06, 2011 Amy Do rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huxley's "Brave New World" was, to me, a controversial and provoking novel that had just the right amount of thrill and philosophy. "After Many a Summer Dies the Swan" shares the same characteristics, with perhaps a bigger portion of discussion essays. I understand why it took some readers months to finish; the amount of philosophical discussion is large and the topics Huxley raised in this book are abstract and complex. Ideas of eternality, the withdrawal of one's personality, time and evil, go ...more
Shamim E. Haque
An interesting and enjoyable novel to read, no doubt! There is a story within the story. 'After Many a Summer Dies the Swan' unfurls another story in the guise of the holograph of the Fifth Earl: an 18th century English nobleman who, like the novel's protagonist, was equally interested in prolonging his life. But most enjoyable are the acerbic ruminations of the Fifth Earl on the follies of fellow human beings, their weaknesses and hypocrisies! The quaint manner in which the Fifth Earl expresses ...more
Jan 29, 2014 Kim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
"After Many A Summer Dies The Swan" is a novel by Aldous Huxley originally published in 1939. The title originally was" After Many a Summer" but it was changed when published in the USA. The novel's title is taken from Tennyson's poem" Tithonus", about a figure in Greek mythology to whom Aurora gave eternal life but not eternal youth. The title is taken from the fourth line of the poem:

"The woods decay, the woods decay and fall,

The vapours weep their burthen to the ground,

Man comes and tills t
Jan 09, 2014 Philip rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As novels go, After Many A Summer by Aldous Huxley presents something of the unexpected. It’s a strange, rather perplexing experience. By the end, most readers will feel that what started as a novel somehow morphed into something different. What that something might be is probably a subject of debate. And exactly how of where the transformation took place will remain hard to define.

At the outset, any review of the book should state that this text is rather verbose, uses long sentences that tend
carl  theaker
Oct 10, 2016 carl theaker rated it really liked it
Shelves: fancy-fiction

The first pair of chapters give a great description of Los Angeles;
the quirkiness and the contrasts, giant billboards, architecture,
landscape, the transients and the well-to-do, all an insight into
what makes LA, LA, and perhaps could only be written by someone such
as Huxley coming from a different country getting a fresh view to
this new American city in the 1930s.

As always, Huxley is heavy on the philosophies and satire as he
mocks the continual California search for youth with science and fa
Sep 16, 2010 Halik rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: speculative
It was alright. the plot had great potential. and had nice build up, but Huxley diverted into some deeply philosophical mumbo-jumbo about 1/3rd of the way in and continued almost until the end. What could have been an exciting read goes wanting for plot treatment and a proper climax. potentially a great work of speculative fiction made mediocre by too much philosophizing. It would have been better of Huxley had designed the story itself to convey some of the ideas that he propounds (by means of ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Paulimeepa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Huxley is brilliant and an amazing writer, but non too subtle about the social points he wants to make. And his fantastical allegories are a bit much sometimes, but nonetheless, he always leaves you thinking and his books make a permanent mark. This one is no exception. It was weird, grounded, poignant, deep, funny, shallow, sarcastic and earnest all at once. I read it after reading some fun but overly solemn and artlessly written fluff (Sue Collins' The Hunger Games, I think), and it really cle ...more
Scott Smith
I was a Huxley fan in my youth, with a shelf of all his works (mostly Granada? Picador? paperbacks, with some rotten old early 20th century hardbacks mixed in) as well as the Bedford and Dunaway biographies... So when I began re-reading this novel a few days ago, I was full of nostalgia. The polysyllabic vocabulary! The learned references! The irony!

Midway through, however, I ran out of steam. It's all talking heads, abstract philosophical polemics... Huxley was surely a brilliant humanist: the
Jan 08, 2011 Kelly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was one great short story and one great treatise on God and Man unfortunately compressed into one mediocre book. Huxley's reflections on the role of religion are certainly valid and worthy of their own cover; why squeeze them between the chapters of a pulp fiction short? The combination ruins the flow of both story lines and leaves the reader wondering why they didn't just skip to the end. A suggestion for the reader: if you want a smutty pulp short, skip any chapter involving Mr. Propter a ...more
DJ Dycus
There are certainly some interesting ideas in this book, and it takes an unexpected twist, but overall I'd have to say that it's not worth wading through. The book certainly shows its age. There is a great deal of pontificating (the interesting ideas already mentioned), and it frequently feels like you're attending a lecture rather than a novel with interactions among genuine characters.

Huxley uses this book to critique the excesses of American culture, so that was interesting--materialism, obse
Apr 27, 2016 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction
Well, I can relate to the search for eternal life that is at the crux of this book. I am searching for eternal life with a guarantee of eternal youth included. Sigh, as I age I grudgingly cede that there might be worse options than death. I love Mr. Huxley's voice of irony and the eclectic chorus of characters in this tome. I found myself chuckling darkly at the ending. This is only my second Huxley book. I shall certainly read more.
Mar 12, 2016 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
“Apes, the lot of us,” implies Huxley. He implies it with the highbrow language of Propter’s philosophy, with Obispo’s “science,” with Jeremy’s scab itching and pornography reading… He implies it with Virginia’s sex addiction, with Stoyte’s unbalanced psyche that is prone to irrational anger. “Apes, the lot of us,” implies Huxley, “Apes who are afraid to die.”

Propter’s philosophy is the closest that Huxley comes to writing down his undiluted thoughts. At times, it’s almost as if Huxley snipped a
Oct 26, 2008 Brandi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books pretty much ever, it is also one of Huxley's most overlooked. While it is rather wordy and pretentious, I think that was kinda the point.
Oct 06, 2012 Synful rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
All told, I believe it took me nearly 3 months to get through this book. While I am in agreement with Huxley's general way of thinking, I guess I should've known better than to pick up this book. I have trouble getting through books written before, definitely, WWII. I find the style of writing tedious and boring, overly descriptive of everything unimportant to the main plot.

This book, once I cut through all the excessively ponderous prose, boiled down to an observation piece about decadence, ina
Gamal Hasan
رواية عميقة مليئة بالأفكار،ربما الترجمة رغم انها جيدة الا انها ليست بالمستوى. ثم ان هذا العمل ان الرواية هذه غير سردية. بصراحة اسلوب مغاير لكثير مما قد كتب
Jason Kinn
This book is worse than bad. It's bad in and of itself -- boring as hell, pretentious, with nonhuman characters (they're just walking philosophies, no flesh and blood) and a silly, unconnected end. But it's also bad because it makes me think Brave New World might not have been so great, either. And I (have) love(d) Brave New World for decades.

The only redeeming feature of this book is that my copy of it reminds me of my honeymoon in Mexico City when I picked it up. I could have left it unread fo
Apr 11, 2016 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The main reason this doesn't work as a novel for me is that Huxley hates all of his characters, and that's really why he brings the novel to such an abrupt and grotesque conclusion. Better to end the novel short and unfulfilled than to continue the narrative on its present frightful corse; where the philosophical seeds sown earlier in the novel could perhaps be harvested affectively in some kind of synthesis. But Mr. Propter is not the hero of the novel, he's just another character.

Huxley quite
Julia Lipovetsky
Feb 15, 2016 Julia Lipovetsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gathering passages from the book that particularly speak to me is my way of reviewing it. Library of Congress #40-27086

p.81, par.5 "I never could get much satisfaction out of meaningless discourse," Mr. Propter continued. "I like the word I use to bear some relations to facts. That's why I'm interested in eternity--psychological eternity. Because it's a fact."
"For you, perhaps," said Jeremy in a tone which implied that more civilized people didn't suffer from these hallucinations.
"For any one w
Oziel Bispo
Jun 06, 2016 Oziel Bispo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
este livro conta a história de Jo Stoyte, um bilionário da Califórnia do começo do século, já velho e com muito medo da morte ,busca a única coisa que sua fortuna não poderia comprar:A imortalidade , a vida eterna , se livrar da sua morte iminente. Jo Stoyle paga uma fortuna para o inescrupuloso doutor Obispo pesquisar um modo de prolongar a sua vida , também contrata Jeremy Pordage ,que é o narrador da história, para analisar uns documentos antigos de um nobre inglês que vivera há 200 anos atrá ...more
Jul 14, 2014 Ursula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, california
Jeremy Pordage is an English archivist who takes a job working for Jo Stoyte, a millionaire Californian who collects valuable objects without much knowledge about or interest in them. Stoyte's latest acquisition is something called the Hauberk papers, and Pordage is thrilled to get to go through them, cataloging and delving into the papers of some family of English earls. He's thrilled at the job, but the surroundings and people prove to be a bit beyond what he might have expected to deal with. ...more
Jul 24, 2016 Cici rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books
The title comes from Tennyson’s “Tithonus”, in which the immortalized mortal Tithonus begging the gods to “Let me go: take back thy gift: / Why should a man desire in any way/To vary from the kindly race of men”. In Greek myth, the handsome mortal youth Tithonus became the love of Eos (a.k.a Aurora), Eos asked for “immortality” for Tithonus but forgot to ask “eternal youth” along with it. Tithonus was bored and tired of the endless living so he begged for “the power to die”.

However, if Eos did
Alex Rubenstein
Typical Huxley... who uses his characters more as a vehicle for his broader philosophical and moral ideas than as a means of advancing his plot. And while the storyline is interesting--a man who wishes to live forever seeking out an extremist doctor willing to go as ethically far as it takes to understand the "secret" to everlasting life--one has to read this more with an eye toward the implications of what "living a good life" means: is it simply quantity of years, or is the value of life also ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Shiloh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books, very disturbing take on American manias and Hollywood. Haven't read it in awhile but recommend it to anyone interested in the roots of literary science fiction or dark satire.
Aug 04, 2007 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful spoof on youth-obsessed culture, not in the least hampered (and probably aided) by a fairly far-fetched scientific plot device. Let's just say I've never looked at carp the same way since.
Mike Torres
Jun 10, 2009 Mike Torres rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good. Much better than Point Counter Point. This is a book that is ultimately funny but only in retrospect. Much love for it and perfectly willing to take the title, hence forth, of Dr. Obispo.
I didn't finish this book. The material was too heavy to enjoy, though I do like the way Huxley writes his books. This book wasn't nearly as witty as his other satire.
Brian Smith
This book is a prime example of dogma dictating narrative. I cannot remember at which point I started skimming through Mr. Propter's pedantic discourses.
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Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family. He spent the latter part of his life in the United States, living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963. Best known for his novels and wide-ranging output of essays, he also published short stories, poetry, travel writing, and film stories and scripts. Through his novels and es ...more
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“But then every man is ludicrous if you look at him from outside, without taking into account what’s going on in his heart and mind.” 62 likes
“Pleasure cannot be shared; like Pain, it can only be experienced or inflicted, and when we give Pleasure to our Lovers or bestow Charity upon the Needy, we do so, not to gratify the object of our Benevolence, but only ourselves. For the Truth is that we are kind for the same reason as we are cruel, in order that we may enhance the sense of our own Power....” 45 likes
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