So my aim to write a dissertation on the genre of dystopia. When I tell this to people I am suprised that the majority of people do not know what I am talking about. I ask them do you know what Utopia is and they normally reply yes, and they say how it is like the future with driving cars and everyone is nice and science is great and everyone is happy etc etc… I then say that dystopia is the the future but is the complete opposite. The most common response that I get from that is … Why do you want to talk about something that is bad. Isnt architecture meant to be good??
Now Aldous Huxley had this kind of Criticism when he released his work. In the dawn of the industrial revolution it was as if Huxley was making a mockery of the country.
H.G wells accused him of:
“Treason to science and defeatist pessimism.” – Quote in Sybille Bedford, Aldous Huxley: A Biography (New York: Afred A. Knopf/Harper & Row, 1973),253.
whilst Wyndham Lewis said it was
“An unforgiable offence to Progress.” – Quoted by Watt, “introduction,” Critical Heritage, 16.
Pg (10-11) Rebecca West’s Daily Tele-graph review for 5th february 1932 […] Praising Brave New World as a work “of major importance,” […] She recognized the book’s humanistic theme, defining it as a sustained attack on a prevailing materialism that ha discarded religious and philosophical speculation in favour of a blinkered faith in technology. She concluded her review with high praise:
“It is, indeed, almost certainly one of the half-dozen most important books that have been published since the war.” –Watt, Crictical Heritage, 198,202
Joseph Needham was a leading biochemist of his day so his critique of the book would satisfy the taste of the critics when it comes from a scientific view point:
“In the world at large, those persons, and there will be many, who do not approve of his “utopia,” will say, we can’t believe all this, the biology is all wrong, it couldn’t happen. Unfortunately, what gives the biologist a sardonic smile as he reads it, is the fact that the biology is perfectly right, and Mr. Huxley has included nothing in his book but what might be regarded as legitimate extrapolations from knowledge and power that we already have. Successful experiments are even now being made in cultivation of embryos of small mammals in vitro, and one of the most horrible of Mr. Huxley’s predictions, the production of numerous low-grade workers of precisely identical genetic constitution from one egg, is perfectly possible.” – Watt, Critical Heritage, 204
pg (16) Herman Hesse’s review saw no disgust with human nature, only “melancholgy irony” in Huxley’s depcition of a mechanized “utopia” where
“the human beings themselves have long since ceased to be human but are only ‘standardized’ machines.” – watt 221-22
pg (17) Cyril Connolly observed thirty years after its appearance wrote
“To write a philosophic, even a didactic novel about an imaginary Utopia is a most difficult thing. Too often the characters in Utopias are unreal while their opinions are cloaked in the dust of the lecture room. Brave New World is an exception because of the ferocious energy of the satire. ” – watt 446
pg (17) It was Huxley’s fascination with Freudian, Marxist and Scientific ideas that energized his novels.