Brave New World

The increasing domination of technology controlled by self-centered powerful elites at the expense of caring consideration in our current world and the efforts of a rampant virus to wake us all up to the need for mutual cooperation has spurred me to interrupt my reading of Aldous Huxley’s ‘Antic Hay’, to return to his ‘Brave New World’, a visionary dystopian novel published in 1932 that I last read almost fifty years ago. Here is the frontispiece and the title page of my Folio Society copy:

Perceptive readers will appreciate that this has been prompted by my current difficulties in gaining refunds of fraudulent removal of sums from my bank account. I have today received the payments in my on line banking statement, but the e-mail informing me about this stated that it would be ‘a temporary credit …. pending investigation’, so I am not holding my breath.

I began the day with skim-reading revision of Huxley’s philosophical masterpiece. I skimmed along at a reasonable rate. The pace slowed as I was drawn in by the author’s fast moving prose and intriguing story. Soon I ceased skimming and savoured every word.

This was another of Huxley’s explorations of the dichotomy between reason and passion; between uniformity and individuality; between science and art.

The binding of my Folio Society edition has a shiny silver coating reproduced as black by my scanner, and this front board carries a faceless version of one of the

powerful full page drawings by Leonard Rosoman, totally in tune, as is his wont, with the text.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious cockaleeky stoup (chicken and leek stew/soup) and fresh bread with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

The First To Finish

This fine, sunny, morning didn’t go quite according to plan. When settling an electricity bill on line, I discovered a banking problem which took about an hour to reach a real person on the telephone who informed me that it could be resolved by another department which was only available on weekdays. Watch further space.

My first task had been to recreate the watering can station. Regular readers will be aware that this is situated outside the stable door looking towards the Head Gardener’s favourite view. What has perhaps not been apparent is that the makeshift platform has been constructed of now crumbling IKEA wardrobe sections balanced on two lidless dustbins. It metaphorically fell upon me to retrieve a plastic fold-up table from behind a more substantial wooden one laden with plant pots behind the garden shed. When I rescued the originally flat-packed furniture a leg literally fell on me. I then had the job of reassembling it, clearing away the delapidated materials, and, with help from Mrs Knight, setting it in place. Jackie then washed and scrubbed it and

arranged her cans.

Wikipedia tells us that In 1998,[2] the Modern Library ranked Point Counter Point 44th on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.[3]

‘The novel’s title is a reference to the flow of arguments in a debate,[3] and a series of these exchanges tell the story.[4] Instead of a single central plot, there are a number of interlinked story lines and recurring themes (as in musical “counterpoint“).[5] As a roman à clef,[6] many of the characters are based on real people, most of whom Huxley knew personally, such as D. H. LawrenceKatherine MansfieldSir Oswald MosleyNancy Cunard, and John Middleton Murry, and Huxley is depicted as the novel’s novelist, Philip Quarles.[7]‘

After lunch I finished reading my 1958 Folio Society edition of this work, originally published thirty years earlier. The book is illustrated with imaginatively composed exquisite line drawings by Leonard Rosoman which capture the mood of the cast and their period.

The jacket incorporates one of the

full page illustrations

Prolific writer Huxley was acknowledged as a pre-eminent intellectual of his time. Indeed, this beautifully written book is an example of his fascination with the tensions between passion and reason particularly in matters of love, politics, and religion. The characterisation is complex and well constructed in fluid language. Intellectual he may have been, but he also understood the passions of the human body and soul. Evidence of the author’s learning unobtrusively enhances the text.

Occasionally I have come across a copy of a book which bears uncut corners making pages inaccessible without a blade – in this a case a Stanley. As I performed the necessary surgical procedure I reflected that I must have been the first, after all these years, to have finished reading this copy. There was no appendix.

Elizabeth visited later this afternoon and was able to join us for a second sitting of yesterday’s spicy lamb Jalfrezi and pilau rice with the addition of plain parathas.. My sister drank Hop House lager; my wife drank Hoegaarden; and I drank Valle Central Reserva Privada Syrah 2019.