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ISLAND: ALDOUS HUXLEY’S 1962 UTOPIAN NOVEL ISLAND AND ITS LITERARY AND SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE IN POSTWAR AMERICAN SOCIETY

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Title:ISLAND: ALDOUS HUXLEY’S 1962 UTOPIAN NOVEL ISLAND AND ITS LITERARY AND SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE IN POSTWAR AMERICAN SOCIETY
Authors:Martin, Kevin John
Contributors:Perkinson, Robert (advisor)
American Studies (department)
Keywords:English literature
History
Literature
Aldous Huxley
Island
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Utopia
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Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:In 1962, Aldous Huxley, one of the greatest authors of the 20th century, published a utopian novel titled Island. During his career, Huxley wrote eleven novels; Island was his final novel and the most important to Huxley personally. Island was not Huxley’s most famous or acclaimed book, but he and many others considered Island to be his most influential and far-reaching. Huxley spent his life traveling, studying the world, and looking for solutions that would liberate individuals from the tyranny of authoritarian control, discourage mass militarization, and halt the innovation of predatory technological developments. The intersectional of control, militarization, and industrialism left Huxley and many others disillusioned and pessimistic about the future of humanity. However, after a series of spiritual epiphanies, Huxley began to envision the possibility of the postwar period of 1954-1962 as a time where people could demand change and create a more equitable, inhabitable, and peaceful world instead of succumbing to the blight of modernity. At the time, it was a radical belief that the future of humanity could result in the betterment of the human race, as most of the popular literature of that era focused on destruction, suffering, and chaos. Most importantly, this particular utopian vision was unlike anything previously proposed, as it sought to integrate Eastern mysticism and Western science. This thesis argues that Island exemplifies the most salient social concerns from the postwar 1950s epoch in American society. By the 1950s, a growing resentment towards traditional American values became visible through various social movements such as the Beatnik Movement, the 1960s Anti-war Counterculture Movement, and the Human Potential Movement. I will examine three popular texts – Lord of the Flies by William Golding, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson – to illustrate the difference between Island compared to other books of the time. Each one of those books became popular because they presented a searing critique of authoritarian control, colonial values, and mass industrialization, all of which Huxley provides a solution to in Island.
Pages/Duration:69 pages
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10125/68923
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.A. - American Studies


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