Books

Psychedelics

Aldous Huxley

Could drugs offer a new way of seeing the world? In 1953, in the presence of an investigator, Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gramme of mescalin, sat down and waited to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything, from the flowers in a vase to the creases in his trousers, was transformed. His account of his experience, and his vision for all that psychedelics could offer to mankind, has influenced writers, artists and thinkers around the world.

The unabridged text of The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley

VINTAGE MINIS: GREAT MINDS. BIG IDEAS. LITTLE BOOKS.

A series of short books by the world’s greatest writers on the experiences that make us human

For the full list of books visit vintageminis.co.uk

Also in the Vintage Minis series:
Drinking by John Cheever
Swimming by Roger Deakin
Eating by Nigella Lawson
Desire by Haruki Murakami

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley (and others)

A gripping BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of Aldous Huxley’s classic dystopian novel
It’s 2116, and Bernard Marx and Helmholtz Watson are token rebels in an irretrievably corrupted society where promiscuity is the norm, eugenics a respectable science, and morality turned upside down. There is no poverty, crime or sickness – but no creativity, art or culture either. Human beings are merely docile citizens: divided into castes, brainwashed and controlled by the state and dependent on the drug soma for superficial gratification.
Into this sterile society comes an outsider, John – a man born into squalor and suffering, but raised on The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a book which has shaped his entire life. When he discovers that treasured ideals such as love mean nothing in this ‘brave new world’, where romance is ridiculous, marriage shocking and parenthood shameful, John’s world is shattered – and his reaction will show Bernard and Helmholtz what rebellion really means...
Based on Aldous Huxley’s 1932 masterpiece, widely considered one of the greatest novels of all time, this chilling dramatisation set in a futuristic totalitarian society stars Jonathan Coy, Justin Salinger, Milton Lopes and Anton Lesser. Running time: 2 hours

Time Must Have a Stop

Aldous Huxley

Sebastian Barnack, a handsome English schoolboy, is on bad terms with his socialist father who disapproves of his hedonistic lifestyle. He escapes to Florence in order to learn about life. His education there, thanks to the contradictory influences of his scurrilous Uncle Eustace and a saintly bookseller, is both sacred and profane. A haunting novel from one of the twentieth century's most powerful commentators.

The Genius and the Goddess

Aldous Huxley

It is Christmas Eve, and John Rivers is thinking about the past; about his sheltered upbringing; about an extraordinary time spent as a lab assistant to the great physicist Henry Maartens; about Maartens' beautiful wife, Katy, and about a love affair which shook Rivers to the core and caused him to question everything he once revered.

After Many a Summer

Aldous Huxley

Jo Stoyle is afraid of death. But Stoyle is also a millionaire, and so he pours his riches into scientific research, desperate to find the secret of immortality. This ruthless quest will enmesh everyone around him in a web of greed, seduction, murder and debasement. Written while he was living in California, this is Huxley’s response to Hollywood’s superficiality and obsession with youth, a powerful cautionary tale which employs all his customary wit and merciless insight.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY MARGARET ATWOOD AND DAVID BRADSHAW

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

Those Barren Leaves

Aldous Huxley (and others)

In a renovated Italian palace set above the blue of the sea, the Junoesque figure of Mrs Aldwinkle moves among her guests. These include a poet who earns his living editing The Rabbit Fancier's Gazette; a popular novelist who records every detail of her affair with another guest as future literary material; an aging philosopher who pursues a wealthy yet mentally-disabled heiress and a pair of na-ve and charming young lovers. Deliciously satirical, Those Barren Leaves bites the hands of those who dare to posture or feign sophistication and is as comically fresh today as when it was first published.

Brave New World

Aldous Huxley (and others)

'The best science fiction book ever, definitely the most prescient... Looking at our present trajectory we are on the way to Brave New World' Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens and Homo Deus

‘A masterpiece of speculation... As vibrant, fresh, and somehow shocking as it was when I first read it’ Margaret Atwood

A grave warning... Provoking, stimulating, shocking and dazzling' Observer

'What Aldous Huxley presented as fiction with the human hatcheries of Brave New World has become fact. The consequences are profound and, if we don't get it right, deeply disturbing' John Humphries, Sunday Times

WITH INTRODUCTIONS BY MARGARET ATWOOD AND DAVID BRADSHAW

Far in the future, the World Controllers have created the ideal society. Through clever use of genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational sex and drugs all its members are happy consumers. Bernard Marx seems alone harbouring an ill-defined longing to break free. A visit to one of the few remaining Savage Reservations where the old, imperfect life still continues, may be the cure for his distress...

Huxley's ingenious fantasy of the future sheds a blazing light on the present and is considered to be his most enduring masterpiece.

Grey Eminence

Aldous Huxley (and others)

The life of Father Joseph, Cardinal Richelieu's aide, was a shocking paradox. After spending his days directing operations on the battlefield, Father Joseph would pass the night in prayer, or in composing spiritual guidance for the nuns in his care. He was an aspirant to sainthood and a practising mystic, yet his ruthless exercise of power succeeded in prolonging the unspeakable horrors of the Thirty Years War. In his masterful biography, Huxley explores how an intensely religious man could lead such a life and how he could reconcile the seemingly opposing moral systems of religion and politics.

Ape and Essence

Aldous Huxley

In February 2108, the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition reaches California at last. It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war, but the blight of radioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors. The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are quite unprepared for the moral degradation they meet. Ape and Essence is Huxley's vision of the ruin of humanity, told with all his knowledge and imaginative genius.

The Devils Of Loudun

Aldous Huxley

In 1634 Urbain Grandier, a handsome and dissolute priest of the parish of Loudun was tried, tortured and burnt at the stake. He had been found guilty of conspiring with the devil to seduce an entire convent of nuns in what was the most sensational case of mass possession and sexual hysteria in history. Grandier maintained his innocence to the end and four years after his death the nuns were still being subjected to exorcisms to free them from their demonic bondage. Huxley's vivid account of this bizarre tale of religious and sexual obsession transforms our understanding of the medieval world.

Island

Aldous Huxley (and others)

For over a hundred years the Pacific island of Pala has been the scene of a unique experiment in civilisation. Its inhabitants live in a society where western science has been brought together with Eastern philosophy to create a paradise on earth. When cynical journalist, Will Farnaby, arrives to research potential oil reserves on Pala, he quickly falls in love with the way of life on the island. Soon the need to complete his mission becomes an intolerable burden and he must make a difficult choice.

In counterpoint to Brave New World and Ape and Essence, in Island Huxley gives us his vision of utopia.

WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL INTRODUCTION BY DAVID BRADSHAW

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley

WITH A FOREWORD BY DAVID LODGE

When inspiration leads Theodore Gumbril to design a type of pneumatic trouser to ease the discomfort of sedentary life, he decides the time has come to give up teaching and seek his fortune in the metropolis. He soon finds himself caught up in the hedonistic world of his friends Mercaptan, Lypiatt and the thoroughly civilised Myra Viveash, and his burning ambitions begin to lose their urgency...

Wickedly funny and deliciously barbed, the novel epitomises the glittering neuroticism of the Twenties.

Brave New World Revisited

Aldous Huxley (and others)

In his 1932 classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, Aldous Huxley depicted a future society in thrall to science and regulated by sophisticated methods of social control. Nearly thirty years later in Brave New World Revisited, Huxley checked the progress of his prophecies against reality and argued that many of his fictional fantasies had grown uncomfortably close to the truth. Brave New World Revisited includes Huxley's views on overpopulation, propaganda, advertising and government control, and is an urgent and powerful appeal for the defence of individualism still alarmingly relevant today.

The Doors Of Perception

Aldous Huxley (and others)

WITH A FOREWORD J.G. BALLARD

In 1953, in the presence of an investigator, Aldous Huxley took four-tenths of a gramme of mescalin, sat down and waited to see what would happen. When he opened his eyes everything, from the flowers in a vase to the creases in his trousers, was transformed. Huxley described his experience with breathtaking immediacy in The Doors of Perception. In its sequel Heaven and Hell, he goes on to explore the history and nature of mysticism. Still bristling with a sense of excitement and discovery, these illuminating and influential writings remain the most fascinating account of the visionary experience ever written.

Point Counter Point

Aldous Huxley

The dilettantes who frequent Lady Tantamount's society parties are determined to push forward the moral frontiers of the age. Marjorie has left her family to live with Walter; Walter is in love with the luscious but cold-hearted Lucy who devours every man in sight; the repulsive Spandrell deflowers young girls for the sake of entertainment and all the while everyone is engaged in dazzling and witty conversation.

Eyeless In Gaza

Aldous Huxley

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID BRADSHAW

Anthony Beavis is a man inclined to recoil from life. His past is haunted by the death of his best friend Brian and by his entanglement with the cynical and manipulative Mary Amberley. Realising that his determined detachment from the world has been motivated not by intellectual honesty but by moral cowardice, Anthony attempts to find a new way to live. Eyeless in Gaza is considered by many to be Huxley's definitive work of fiction.

Crome Yellow

Aldous Huxley

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY MALCOLM BRADBURY

Denis Stone, a naive young poet, is invited to stay at Crome, a country house renowned for its gatherings of 'bright young things'. His hosts, Henry Wimbush and his exotic wife Priscilla, are joined by a party of colourful guests whose intrigues and opinions ensure Denis's stay is a memorable one. First published in 1921, Crome Yellow was Aldous Huxley's much-acclaimed debut novel.

Biography

Aldous Huxley was born on 26th July 1894 near Godalming, Surrey. He began writing poetry and short stories in his early twenties, but it was his first novel, 'Crome Yellow' (1921), which established his literary reputation. This was swiftly followed by 'Antic Hay' (1923), 'Those Barren Leaves' (1925) and 'Point Counter Point' (1928) - bright, brilliant satires in which Huxley wittily but ruthlessly passed judgement on the shortcomings of contemporary society. For most of the 1920s Huxley lived in Italy and an account of his experiences there can be found in 'Along The Road' (1925). The great novels of ideas, including his most famous work 'Brave New World' (published in 1932, this novel warned against the dehumanising aspects of scientific and material 'progress') and the pacifist novel 'Eyeless in Gaza' (1936) were accompanied by a series of wise and brilliant essays, collected in volume form under titles such as 'Music at Night' (1931) and 'Ends and Means' (1937). In 1937, at the height of his fame, Huxley left Europe to live in California, working for a time as a screenwriter in Hollywood. As the West braced itself for war, Huxley came increasingly to believe that the key to solving the world's problems lay in changing the individual through mystical enlightenment. The exploration of the inner life through mysticism and hallucinogenic drugs was to dominate his work for the rest of his life. His beliefs found expression in both fiction ('Time Must Have a Stop', 1944 and 'Island', 1962) and non-fiction ('The Perennial Philosophy', 1945, 'Grey Eminence', 1941 and the famous account of his first mescalin experience, 'The Doors of Perception', 1954. Huxley died in California on 22nd November 1963.