1932: Brave New World
Author/Editor: Aldous Huxley
Brave New World was published in 1932, and explored a new totalitarianism world in which mind control, mass (re)production, and pleasure are combine to create a state where “…the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude,” (Huxley, 1946 foreword).
In the thirties, Huxley lived in a milieu that was still feeling the aftereffects of the Great War, beginning to fear the development of totalitarian states in Europe, and on the cusp of the Second World War. These anxieties were recombined with disgust at the shallow pursuit of pleasure which Huxley felt he observed in a trip to America, and are perhaps at the root of the dilemmas he explores in Brave New World.
Brave New World is a resilient novel. Reading it 80 years after its publication, many of the questions and problems raised by Huxley remain unresolved.