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When it was published in 1928, Point Counter Point no doubt shocked its readers with frank depictions of infidelity, sexuality, and the highbrow high jinks of Aldous Huxley's arty characters. What's truly remarkable, however, is how his novel continues to shock today. True, we may hardly lift an eyebrow at poor Marjorie Carling leaving her husband to live in sin with--and get pregnant by--her lover Walter Bidlake. And the sexual exploits of Lady Edward Tantamount or her daughter, Lucy, seem quite in keeping with the behavior expected of such exalted persons by readers inured to the exploits of the British Royals. If the varieties of sexual experience on display in Huxley's novel seem tame by current standards, his clear-eyed dissection of the motives behind them are thrillingly fresh--and his commentaries on everything from politics to ecology sometimes chillingly prescient. Take for example, the wisdom of amateur biologist Lord Edward Tantamount on the subject of non-renewable resources:
"No doubt," he said, "you think you can make good the loss with phosphate rocks. But what'll you do when the deposits are exhausted?" He poked Everard in the shirt front. "What then? Only two hundred years and they'll be finished. You think we're being progressive because we're living on our capital Phosphates, coal, petroleum, nitre--squander them all. That's your policy. And meanwhile you go round trying to make our flesh creep with talk about revolutions."When his interlocutor, the fascist politician Everard Webley, demands to know whether Lord Edward wants a revolution, Tantamount first asks whether such an event would reduce the population and check production and then, when assured it would, he responds, "'Then certainly I want a revolution.' The Old Man thought in terms of geology and was not afraid of logical conclusions."
Huxley fills his novel with a multitude of characters, from the obscenely wealthy Tantamounts to the priapic painter John Bidlake, his children Walter and Elinor, and their respective mates, Marjorie Carling and Philip Quarles. There is also the venomous Maurice Spandrell, the revolutionary Illidge, the unctuous Burlap, and the happily married (a rarity in this novel) Mark and Mary Rampion, who are the book's moral center--theirs is the one relationship that combines reason and passion in proper measure. They are purportedly in part based on well-known figures of the time such as D.H. Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield. Love, loss, infidelity, and murder are the subjects under discussion as Huxley juxtaposes one point of view against its opposite, and mixes in a healthy dollop of science, politics, religion, and art, as well. Point Counter Point is an intelligent novel about the intellectual world, and one that bears up gracefully under the test of time. --Alix WilberAbout the Author:
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 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 'Enda 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.
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Book Description Harpercollins, 1928. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Complete and unabridged.. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060830484