Aldous Huxley, New Edition (Bloom's Modern Critical Views) by Harold Bloom

By Harold Bloom

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Aldous Huxley J erome M eckier Aldous Huxley: Satire and Structure T I he unique existence led by Francis Chelifer in Those Barren Leaves (1925)1 best illustrates the extent to which Aldous Huxley satirizes the majority of his characters for being escapists and eccentrics. The section entitled “The Autobiography of Francis Chelifer” informs us that the young poet has abandoned verse to edit The Rabbit Fanciers’ Gazette, to live in wretched rooms in Gog’s Court, and even to praise the unintelligent babbling of his fellow boarders at Miss Carruthers’.

D): 1931, and two transitional chapters. Mrs Foxe dies and the unpleasant affair of Brian’s death seems to be buried with her; and Helen, who is bored by her clumsy, ineffectual husband, accepts Anthony’s invitation to dinner. (E): 1933—February 1934, in thirteen chapters. First, four non-consecutive but early chapters (1, 3, 8, 12) describe the events of a single, crucial day, that of 30 August: Anthony finding a pack of old snapshots—he and Helen sunbathing on the roof of the villa—the dog flung at them from an airplane, crashing beside them and splattering them with blood—Helen reacting with puzzling violence and breaking off with Anthony.

One evening, while contemplating her adulterous behavior, she slips her hands into her kimona and begins to fondle her own arms. Then she begins thinking of herself as a beautiful pink serpent. As long as Gumbril conceives of himself as the Complete Man, the Rabelaisian man, and as long as Rosie conceives of herself as a beautiful serpent, pink or otherwise, they cannot spiritually know one another. In Huxley’s world, sensuality can only partially lift man above time, and what pleasure is gained is negated by the contemplation of the finality of sensual enjoyment.

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