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Additional resources for Aldous Huxley and the Mysticism of Science

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This was the period when both science and literature were beginning to be established as university subjects, that is, as separate disciplines in different departments, with all the stratification and distancing that this entails. The decline of religious belief at the turn of the century bequeathed to art a considerable burden. English Literature, in particular, was frequently under the strain of having to underprop a humanist, liberal education and serve as a rallying point for those who opposed the scientific hegemony.

Wantonly committing enormities that's all science is,' she remarks (Time 75), and she regards her own actions as 'scientific to the point of outrage and enormity' (Time 214). Only in Huxley's last novel, Island, are scientists generally Science in Literature 37 depicted as fully-rounded human beings, with wisdom as well as intellect, with heart and soul. Personification, as distinct from characterization, is another way to 'humanize' and incorporate scientific material. A notorious example of this is Erasmus Darwin's verse (referred to above), which Huxley cites as an example of how not to do it.

This is also true to a lesser extent of the other dystopia Ape and Essence (1948), whose society has been formed- or deformed- by a previous nuclear war which resulted from a militarization of technology. In the short story 'Young Archimedes', perhaps Huxley's most moving work, the plot turns on a young boy's demonstration of a mathematical theorem (Mexican. 1924). Huxley is able to make Pythagorean geometry dramatically powerful and the loss of a mathematical genius deeply touching. In After Many a Summer (1939), where a theory about longevity propels the plot, science is more comically used.

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