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Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963) was born in Godalming in Surrey to an intellectual family. He was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, the famous biologist and colleague of Darwin. He was also the great-nephew of Matthew Arnold, the brother of scientist and writer Julian Huxley, and the nephew of the best-selling novelist Mrs. Humphry Ward. He attended Eton, during which time his mother died and he developed a serious disease of the eyes that left him partially blind for the rest of his life. These circumstances left the young Huxley unable to pursue the career in medicine as he had intended and instead he took a degree in English Literature at Balliol College, Oxford.

Huxley became a journalist in 1919, having already published three books of poetry. Throughout most of the 1920s and the first half of the 1930s, Huxley lived in Italy where he befriended the novelist D.H. Lawrence. His most famous and significant work is Brave New World (1932), a future-shock tale of genetic manipulation. He wrote much non-fiction during the later years of his life, notably The Doors of Perception (1954) and Heaven and Hell (1956) in which he describes his experimentation with mescaline, LSD and peyote. Although many feel that, Brave New World aside, Huxley’s novels are better conceptually than they are literary, he is widely regarded as a genius and a maverick.

“Experience is not what happens to a man, it’s what a man does with what happens to him.”

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”

“There’s only one effectively redemptive sacrifice, the sacrifice of self-will to make room for the knowledge of God.”

“The only completely consistent people are the dead.”

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history.”

“A fanatic is a man who consciously over compensates a secret doubt.”