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Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  120 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A biography of novelist, essayist and born-again mystic Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), author of Brave New World and Eyeless in Gaza. The book is a reassessment of one of the most interesting writers of the 20th century, exploring his childhood, education and literary achievements.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published 2003 by Abacus (first published 2002)
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3.83  · 
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 ·  120 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Apr 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every Huxley fan
Recommended to Tamara by: A good friend
I don't read biographies much. This book however, was quite good. Very smart. There was nothing deeply personal and internally moving about its recall of Huxley’s life, just the quick moving chronological clime of a great author and his spiritual remedies. I did not weep at the telling of Huxley’s death in this account, instead I put the book down having marveled at his life.
Mar 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the American edition (2003), published by St. Martins Press — titled Aldous Huxley: A Biography

Aldous Huxley was a British-born poet, editor, novelist, essayist, Hollywood screenwriter, non-fiction author, and lecturer. Murray’s is the third (and best) biography of Huxley I’ve read — an absorbing 500 pager. In his book Murray depicts the key events and pursuits, as well as the intimate and the professional relationships, that engendered Huxley’s remarkable life and its impact.

Philip Thody
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group, non-fiction
A group I belong to was reading Huxley in Hollywood, but I could not find a copy of that book and decided to read this one instead. I read the few short chapters covering the Huxley's time in the USA and found them concise and informative, so I wondered how an author could stretch them into an entire book (lots of name-dropping and descriptions of parties, according to another group member).
I returned to the book a few weeks later and read more of it, but had not finished before It was due back
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great biography, and one that does an amazing job weaving Huxley's ideas and his unique and often misunderstood character.

If one judges Huxley based on his novels alone, they will probably come away with the conception of a pessimistic, detached intellectual who cynically marvels at the stupidity of other human beings. There is a grain of truth here, particularly in his early writings, but it is far from the full story.

Those who knew Huxley often described him as "serene" and almost other-worldl
Aldous Huxley:A Biography by Nicholas Murray was an enjoyable read and a good introduction to Huxley's life.

There are moments where the biography is a strained. For example, when the author attempts to incorporate Maria's, Huxley's first wife, bisexuality into Aldous' life. This is never done smoothly and it reads almost as if Mr. Murray felt they needed to do this but did not really know how to go about it.

For the most part, however, Murray's biography of Huxley is a good introduction to the
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Massive book, which I didn't quite finish. Interesting fellow I didn't know much about. I remember his novels scattered around my parents' house when I was growing up--"Eyeless in Gaza", "Antic Hay"--and of course I read "Brave New World" in high school. These icons of my childhood are a bit freaky--see John Cheever. Huxley was chock-full of ideas of all kinds, scientific, social, psychological, medical.... the man simply never stopped thinking. I found the thinking parts exasperatingly boring ( ...more
Jun 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think Murray's biography is an excellent introduction to Huxley's intellectual life. The chronology is meticulous. For those well-read in Huxley's main interests, you'll forgive the pun that this biography offers superb insight into the mechanics of Huxley's genius life.

I'm hopeful that Sybille Bedford's (what is considered the definitive) biography of Huxley will shed light on Huxley's internal, emotional workings.
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A really great biography of a fascinating author. I only bought it because I'm working on a project relating to his last novel, Island, but I really enjoyed reading the book. I'm curious to read Bedford's biography, which I believe is far more extensive than this.
Caitlin Marie
Nov 27, 2007 marked it as to-read
I bought it but haven't cracked it yet, I'm waiting for a good time to completely focus on this one.
Meredith Walker
Jul 23, 2011 rated it liked it
contained some interesting information, providing insight into where his literary ideas may have originated.
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Nicholas Murray is an English biographer, poet and journalist.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
“[Huxley's Perennial Philosophy is concerned with] the need to love the earth and respect nature instead of following the example of those who 'chopped down vast forests to provide the newsprint demanded by that universal literacy which was to make the world safe for intelligence and democracy, and got wholesale erosion, pulp magazines, and organs of Fascist, Communist, capitalist, and nationalist propaganda.' He attacked 'technological imperialism' and the mechanisation which was 'increasing the power of a minority to exercise a co-ersive control over the lives of their fellows' and 'the popular philosophy of life... now moulded by advertising copy whose one idea is to persuade everybody to be as extroverted and uninhibitedly greedy as possible, since of course it is only the possessive, the restless, the distracted, who spend money on the things that advertisers want to sell.” 1 likes
“Huxley believed that anyone "with a gift for the knowledge of ultimate reality" could do far more good "by sticking to his curious activities on the margin of society than by going to the centre and trying to improve matters there.” 0 likes
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