Jonathan’s review of Brave New World > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Triv (new)

Triv S. I'm really excited to read this. Do you think it was better then 1984?

message 2: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan I liked it similar and differently. I'm writing a review now so I'm trying to express how it compares. I like it on a similar level to 1984. It has the same type of profundity but it's more scarce in amount of words and less focus is applied to creating the world. But the ideas within it are superb.

message 3: by Triv (new)

Triv S. Awesome It'll be interesting to read the review

message 4: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Really good stuff here!

message 5: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan s.penkevich wrote: "Really good stuff here!"

Thanks your reviews are pretty awesome also I think.

message 6: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Thank you.
Does your edition of this have the letter from Huxley about why his book is more relavant than Orwells? It makes some good points, but is rather, well, arrogant in a way. I think it mostly can be summed up as Orwell had a world where books were banned, Huxley's world didn't need to ban books because nobody would want to read them anyways.

message 7: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Not that I can see. It has an introduction from Margaret Atwood and some other fellow literary critic. There is a foreword about the relevance of Brave New World and how it is like our world not too distant but it makes no direct mention to 1984.

Either way each book was written for different reasons. Huxley's is about Fordism and psychoanalysis being applied to produce an overt mass consumer society. Those were modern issues of the interwar era. Orwell's book is about the threat of a political ideology.

message 8: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich Good point. I think that's why I always liked Orwell a little better, the political ideology made it appear, to me at least, as being something more immedietly plausable.
Ah, the ideas I presented wasn't in that letter, it was from Neil Postman. This is from the wiki article about his book:

Social critic Neil Postman contrasts the worlds of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World in the foreword of his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death. He writes:

What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.

Journalist Christopher Hitchens, who himself published several articles on Huxley and a book on Orwell, noted the difference between the two texts in the introduction to his 1999 article "Why Americans Are Not Taught History":

We dwell in a present-tense culture that somehow, significantly, decided to employ the telling expression "You're history" as a choice reprobation or insult, and thus elected to speak forgotten volumes about itself. By that standard, the forbidding dystopia of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four already belongs, both as a text and as a date, with Ur and Mycenae, while the hedonist nihilism of Huxley still beckons toward a painless, amusement-sodden, and stress-free consensus. Orwell's was a house of horrors. He seemed to strain credulity because he posited a regime that would go to any lengths to own and possess history, to rewrite and construct it, and to inculcate it by means of coercion. Whereas Huxley ... rightly foresaw that any such regime could break but could not bend. In 1988, four years after 1984, the Soviet Union scrapped its official history curriculum and announced that a newly authorized version was somewhere in the works. This was the precise moment when the regime conceded its own extinction. For true blissed-out and vacant servitude, though, you need an otherwise sophisticated society where no serious history is taught.[22]

message 9: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan I consider it a little differently. I see Orwell as presenting the fear that books would be altered (the whole idea of the Ministry of Truth) so that 'facts' would suit what the government wanted. And to a degree that does happen in reality. Huxley does present the idea that no one wants to read anymore because they're caught up in their hedonistic lifestyles. I guess his thought was that books provide a revelation on what is moral and what is immoral. Then you have Fahrenheit 451 with its idea that books would be replaced with simplistic televised stories so that people could not read the great literature and think for themselves. I find it fascinating that many dystopian novels focus on the idea of the destruction of books. Perhaps it is because books represent the one great treasure of humanity - and the reason why the story of the burning of the library of Alexandria still resonates today. And that treasure is the knowledge found in stories. Stories provide identity and when we alter stories we can alter the very fabric of identity. Its one idea in literature that has fascinated me recently. Think about what would happen to Sherlock Holmes if you altered his story and removed say John Watson. His identity would be affected.

Mike (the Paladin) Oops. LOL, sorry. I asked if you'd read this...I guess you have. :)

message 11: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan True enough, Gatsby did embrace his societies values. I guess I felt that Marx in the end, settled for acceptance of his place in life.

I want to read 'We' thanks for mentioning it! I've heard that it is one of the greats of dystopian fiction but that few people have read it. I just need to find a good copy...

message 12: by Dolors (new)

Dolors Amazing, introspective review! You manage to link Huxley's work together with such literary masterpieces in a very elegant way, bravo!
Allow me to recommend you a book which could appeal to you, having read your thoughts on this one: Never Let Me Go.

message 13: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Dolors wrote: "Amazing, introspective review! You manage to link Huxley's work together with such literary masterpieces in a very elegant way, bravo!
Allow me to recommend you a book which could appeal to you, h..."

Thanks for the recommendation and comments. I really enjoyed this work and thought of it as a dystopian masterpiece.

message 14: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Wow, this is a really good review, Jonathan. I'd shrugged this off to the bottom of my to-read list, but now thanks to you it's a higher priority. Well done!

message 15: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Jocelyn wrote: "Wow, this is a really good review, Jonathan. I'd shrugged this off to the bottom of my to-read list, but now thanks to you it's a higher priority. Well done!"

Thanks Jocelyn. I like to think it's one of my better reviews with the quotes being nicely incorporated. But I think a lot of that is to do with how much I loved this book. It's a quick read too (unlike the equally brilliant 1984).

message 16: by Jocelyn (new)

Jocelyn Yes, I loved the quotes part, it gave a nice impression of Huxley's writing.

And now I'm off to read your 1984 review, which has somehow slipped past my notice for whatever annoying reason.

message 17: by Anthony (new)

Anthony  Stone I 100% agree with your review. Brave new world and 1984 are two of my most favorite books in the world!! But come to think of it I think 1984 scared me more lol XD

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