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The Genius And The Goddess

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,221 ratings  ·  116 reviews
Thirty years ago, ecstasy and torment took hold of John Rivers, shocking him out of "half-baked imbecility into something more nearly resembling the human form." He had an affair with the wife of his mentor, Henry Maartens--a pathbreaking physicist, winner of the Nobel Prize, and a figure of blinding brilliance--bringing the couple to ruin. Now, on Christmas Eve while a sm ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published December 1955 (first published 1955)
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Scribble Orca
I am sitting here with a USB stick I have just received from Australia, compliments of my mother, on which she has painstakingly copied hundreds of files from the floppy disks of my youth, amongst which I am convinced lies the key to my writerly fame and fortune.

(The last said very much tongue in cheek - not that I'm not convinced, just that I'm a fool. For thinking that either the files are readable - most are not, we're talking files that pre-date even MS DOS - or that fame and fortune await i
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Aldous Huxley was at one time one of my favorite writers, about three or four decades ago. I still love reading him, because I never know when I will turn a corner and suddenly encounter myself as a young man. That young man was impressed by sheer portentousness, by the introduction of philosophical elements in essays and fiction.

Now I see that Huxley was a dualist, deeply torn between the intellect and man's animal nature. This comes out most particularly in Brave New World, and also to a large
An initiation into sensuality, that would be, in short, Huxley's novel.

About the author there is no point in writing, it would mean reinventing the wheel, and that it would be superfluous .
We see Huxley again, as he is : atypical, uncompromising, not at all gentle with conventions or social imposture. This novel does not come out of this pattern either.
The literature - reality report is invoked since the beginning of the novel, when one of the characters - John Rivers, the narrator - states
Heidi Liu
Jan 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
A brief attempt at capturing human ecstasy - Huxley captures the difference between loving out of obligation and involuntary adoration. As much as we try to create the person we are and are to become, the deep-rooted elements of our personalities develop subconsciously and beyond our control. This novel may be short but is a holistic exploration of sensuality and sexuality and freedom and containment from the perspective of a man who tries to be more than just a man. Most quotable book, like, ev ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The prevailing tone suggests Saul Bellow, but the novel is often a vehicle for Huxley’s ideas about humanity’s capacity for love and honesty. Focusing on the ideas, this work dovetails nicely with the recent epistolary Balzac.

The novel is a remembrance of the titular characters, an aging absent minded physicist and his much younger wife. The depiction of the protagonist does challenge belief to some degree. Despite the circumscribed incident at the core of the narrative, I felt this novel may h
William Aicher
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Beautiful examination of what it means to be human. Has taken the place as my favorite book I've ever read.
Ruby Madden
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love it when I accidentally stumble upon a piece of literary treasure that leaves me changed, for the better, in having read it.

Huxley manages to capture the Grace of a Goddess, her husband, a Genius, the dynamics of their family unit and household and the unsuspecting guest (John Rivers) who is invited into their world and lives. Told conversationally and in recollection over the course of one evening, we learn of the impact made to John Rivers' life and universe when he experiences love, pas
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Yet another devastating masterpiece by one of the greatest writers of out time. "The Genius and The Goddess" is vintage Huxley at his desolate best! A scarring tragedy where impiety jousts with instinct, petulance grapples with philosophy and rationality loses out to ravishing lust. A young and talented John Rivers arrives at the family home of the eccentric albeit enormously gifted Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate Henry Maartens after accepting an offer to be his laboratory and teaching ...more
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Aldous Huxley’ The Genius and the Goddess at 168 pages is more of a novella than a novel. It is tightly written without being spare. Narrator John Rivers tell the story of how he matured from a narrow hyper religious man child a modern man aware of but with no answers to the complexities of the larger world. This is intelligent writing. It respects the reader who is ultimately asked to judge the speaker who is not able to resolve the moral conflict thrust upon him. Highly recommended.

In Huxley’s
Kelly Gkountani
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone with an interest in studying human nature
First thought as I closed this book: "I need to read this again."
The theories were a bit tiring to read in the way they were fitted into the story. (It always shows when a non-fiction writer writes fiction, eg. Carl Sagan in "Contact".) Once the story started moving and the large theories gave way (a bit), it became more interesting. The story itself, universal and timeless, is plain and simple in the sense of every-day normality, no unnaturally dramatic twists or peculiar events. Even the awe-s
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
one of the most enthralling and captivating things i’ve ever read. i have literally no words
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
beautiful book--huxley does a fantastic job of portraying the life of a young man and his growth over so eloquently and beautifully. because the whole story is told by the perspective of a young man recalling past events, it paints a wonderful image of the speaker's almost posthumous recollection of events. this also does a fantastic job of providing suspense in the subtlest way--the reader is kept at the edge of his seat wanting to know what comes next but also given the peace of mind that ever ...more
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: literature and fiction fans
This is a rather short novella easily read in a single, highly enjoyable sitting. Over the course of less than 100 pages Huxley develops a very gripping tale of forbidden love and lust and delves deeply into human nature. This work is much more successful than his much-more-often-touted Crome Yellow at establishing character and exposing and exploring human passions and foibles.
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A psychoanalytic character study that finds its greatest achievements in moments of brute clarity, when the dross of the language of intellectual deconstruction, which the protagonist scorns and yet cannot help but use to explore the past, present and future, is cleared away to reveal the raw, naked emotions of fear, jealousy, and shame.
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very intense book. It mixes so well philosophy, psychology, remarkable characters that get stuch in your memory, out of the ordinary destinies...
LJ (
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Admire the logic! I loved this book. It was funny, philosophical and made to much sense while being non-sensical.
Jung Edda
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice Sunday read.
Derek Williams
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly underrated novella! What it lacks in phonetics and unprecedented prose, it makes up surely in strong symbolism, impending tragedy, and comprehensive characters. The short length of the book adds to the weight and vivacity of the plot.
Lauren  Addicott
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This short novel was my first return to Huxley since studying his canonical dystopian text Brave New World, which, admittedly, put me off for a few years. But The Genius and the Goddess is a far cry from Huxley's straight-talking and somewhat laboured illustration of false utopia, which may not be a surprise since it is 24 years its senior.

Despite the very traditional choice of narrative structure, oral storytelling, and the fact that this text is effectively a soapbox for Huxley's opinions on
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have such a soft spot for vintage romance novels. The language in them is so much more capable of conveying adoration, so it really tugs on the heart strings. Whatever negativity I had been harbouring about Huxley's writing since reading Brave New World, this book dissipated it. The writing was rich with feeling and flair - it wasn't so obnoxious and correct that it didn't seem like a story was being told by one character to another, but was stylistic enough for me to notice and therefore admi ...more
Shamim E. Haque
Well, I picked this up for only RS 100 as a second hand book from a Mirza Ghalib Street hole in the wall second hand book shop in Kolkata, India. I thought it was too expensive as a paper back that originally sold only for 35 US cents back in 1956. The book was in a dilapidated condition and as I read it the brittle paper of the binding came loose. But what a rewarding read it was!! I enjoyed every page and every paragraph. Huxley is a genius. Full of insight and accurate observations on the pli ...more
One long conversation between two men where one relates the tale of his relationship with his mentor's wife. The narrator of the tale is John Rivers. His unnamed companion is likely the author, Aldous Huxley.

This is a ghost story told on Christmas Eve.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had forgotten how good Aldous Huxley was. I haven't read him in decades. His prose is elegant and smart. One of the things I treasure in good literature is clever use of narrative structures/devices. The classic for me is Wuthering Heights. Bronte conveys the story through a young male stranger as told to him by an elderly female participant in the events ... his belief in the credibility of the story makes our own suspension of disbelief easier. Bronte covers all bases. The Genius and the God ...more
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
The genius in this novel is Henry Maartens, a physics professor whose very words can modify thought around the world. Yet, he has one weakness, he grows deathly ill when his wife Katy (the goddess) is away for long periods. The main character is John Rivers, a man that was very sheltered by his widowed mother and inexperienced about the world. Shortly after he receives his doctorate, Rivers takes a job as a lab assistant under Henry and since he is to start immediately and has no place to live, ...more
Ro Havens
Jan 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
I wasn't going to leave a review for this book, but seeing how many other one-star reviews there are without reason I felt I should probably explain.

To begin: I typically LOVE Huxley, and have enjoyed everything of his that I've read apart from this little book. The problem is that I didn't really care what was going on. None of the characters made me want to care and I was content just flipping the pages to see what eventually happens to them all without any real investment. Sometimes this is o
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classy-fiction
Underwhelming late-career effort from Aldous Huxley, a writer whose earlier work is excellent but whose later output suffers greatly.

Generally, I find his fiction more engaging than his non-fiction, but even in this work of fiction Huxley seems to be hard-pressed to find much of interest. We have a story about a love affair between essentially a graduate student and the wife of an eccentric professor type. It's a very short book, but never generates any real attachment to the characters or tensi
Brenna Crosby
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
One sentence synopsis... A old man looks back and reflects upon his ultimately tragic affair with the wife of his mentor. .

Read it if you like... quick reads (it’s more of a novella). If you enjoy psychology, sociology-historical references and philosophy packed into fiction. Or if you want something reminiscent of Fitzgerald. .

Dream casting... Hugh Laurie as the crotchety quantum physics professor/genius Dr. Maartens. Florence Pugh as his much younger, “Valkyrie-beauty” wife. Adam Driver as Joh
Julianna Crisanti
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant story-telling, captivating deep characters, and a great read. I wish I could give this book more than 5 stars; he really knows how to write characters in a way that you know exactly why they did what they did or said what they said because of their past and detailed but at the same time simple character development. I am a huge fan of Brave New World, and look forward to reading more Huxley in the future.
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel was an interesting way to break into Aldous Huxley's works. I really look forward diving into the rest of his writing. I found the conversational format of this story very interesting, and the philosophical commentary was both engaging and insightful. This novel was no where near as good as "A Brave New World", but then again, the uniqueness of each novel can never truly be recaptured. Still a very enjoyable read.
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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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