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|Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)|
I. Read the text and do the assignments following it.
The work of Aldous Huxley developed through four of the most interesting decades in the history of Western Man and he responded all the time to what was going on around him: the breaking of Europe, the technological revolution, the population explosion with the appearance of Mass Man, the economic revolution. During these decades violent oppositions came into being. It became possible for the population to be properly fed, clothed and housed; it became possible for them to be destroyed in a few minutes.
Huxley was always sensitive to these oppositions, the eternal balance, between good and evil in nature and in a human society. He spent much time in exploring the new possibilities of advantage to man. He believed in the individual, and he saw the possibilities of greater awareness for the individual.
A. Huxley was born in 1894, and would have gone to war if he had not been nearly blind. The rich creative years of early manhood were spent in a society which was trying to forget the horrors of war, and the social earthquakes it had brought. He began with books of verse and intellectual satirical novels. The verses showed promise but never said much; a characteristic of most verses in England ever since. The prose was witty and he discovered a gift of style.
This was the first decade of his writing, and the second, the thirties, was the decade of anxiety. The pursuit of pleasure in writing gave way to the search for sanity in human affairs. In the novels the lighter play of the intellect was enriched by a serious search for truth in human affairs which would make stable belief in human ideals possible.
Huxley's novels from "Crome Yellow'1 (1921) through "Antic Hay"2 (1923), and "Point Counter Point"3 (1928) to "Brave New World" (1932) reveal his ironical manner and awareness of the ills of the world.
In the mid-thirties Huxley gave up satire for the sake of sermons ("After Many a Summer," 1939, "Time Must Have a Stop," 1944, "The Island," 1962).
A. Huxley has left a very considerable amount of novels, short stories, essays, anthologies, travel books, biographies and in them all he has left strong impressions of his own spirit. His sense of style never deserted him and we see him in all his writings as clearly as through a windowpane. His work has that double interest we expect in any writing worth studying; it is by an interesting and powerful individual, and it has something unique to say. Huxley in his life, and in his writing demonstrates an admirable way of coping with our extraordinary world.
1. "Crome Yellow" – «Желтый хром»
2. "Antic Hay" – «Шутовской хоровод»
3. "Point Counter Point" – «Контрудар»
II. Translate the following words and word combinations into Russian and use them in your own sentences.
to respond to, to come into being, to be sensitive to, awareness, witty, a gift of style, anxiety, to be enriched by, the ills of the world, to cope with.
III. Answer the following questions discussing the creative work of A. Huxley:
1. What can you say about the historical background of A. Huxley's life and creation?
2. How did he respond to reality?
3. What trend in literature did he represent?
4. What are the main themes of his novels?
5. Why is A. Huxley considered to be a great satirist of our time?
6. Have you read any novels or short stories by A. Huxley?
IV. Read the text given below with the help of a dictionary and make up a summary of it.
More than any other contemporary novelist he takes in the whole range of the individual's life, from birth to death. His world is not one exclusively of young men or middle-aged men or old men; it is a world of children and adolescents as well as adults.
"Children are remarkable for their intelligence and ardour, for their curiosity, their intolerance of shame, the clarity and ruthlessness of their vision." Those, who study the souls of children in hopes of finding out something about the souls of men, will be disappointed. This difference between child and adult, between innocence and falsity seems to have made a deep impression on Huxley.
V. Give a literary translation of the following passages.
1. Aldous Huxley published his first novel when he was twenty-seven, and he had no trouble in completing his design.
He takes us, like so many English novelists before him, to a country house and there the characters talk to one another just as peacocks did. The characters are sketches, caricatures, characters in the old literary sense rather than people who react upon one another. There are young people, so there are love affairs but they exist only to be thwarted in an entirely comic atmosphere. There are old people, typed and true to their types, and they talk and do nothing. It is all very agreeable, for the scene unfolds in unnoticeable prose and it is intelligent and amusing, with no thought of stresses or clashes or vulgarity or anything disagreeably real. The young novelist has lived a little and read a great deal and he relies on his reading and his sense of comedy to carry him through. There is no criticism of life, because life does not intrude on this fantasy, but there is a good deal of criticism of literature in the pleasant and precise way of parody.
(From "On 'Crome Yellow'" by Laurence Brander)
2. We visit the right restaurants in this novel, go to the right picture dealers, listen to the right music in the right concert halls. Huxley fulfils the traditional obligation of the London novelist so well fulfilled by Thackeray in his grandfather's time, to take us to places most of us would never otherwise see and to introduce us to people we should never meet. Huxley, in the twenties, was allowed to show us a side of life that the English novelist had not been allowed to show us a very long time.
In the beginning of the novel there is an instruction on education, architecture, politics and music, but that mood soon gives way to jazz, restaurants, taxies and the lights of London.
"Antic Hay," when it was published, was a very daring novel. It was a stronger piece of writing than either "Crome Yellow" or the early short stories.
(From "On 'Antic Hay'" by Laurence Brander)
VI. Speak on Huxley's literary work, using some supplementary information.
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