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A. Huxley in Sanary - Conclusion (UK)


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It is said that Huxley had always been ahead of his time, expressing visionary views on important issues facing our societies. As I had mentioned, when I learned that Huxley had completed BNW in Sanary as far as 193138, my intention was to comprehend the process in which the author had worked on the uncommon theme of this negative utopia becoming in the end a gloomy picture of the future. What puzzled me most was that he had written it in just four months in the familiar environment I knew so well; sun drenched beaches, pine groves and cicadas, so far away from the modernity depicted in his book. What kind of background did he possess to have mastered so well such a scientific subject? How did he manage to find the sources he needed? Sanary was a picturesque fishing village, but at the time there were no fast trains and it was a two day journey to London.

Huxley certainly did not want to become a male Barbara Cartland, who incidentally started her career around the same period with a book called Jigsaw (Jigsaw is the name of one of Sybille Bedford’s book…). I found the answer to the question of his inspiration for BNW from my reading: after having settled in his new environment he had in mind to write a satire of the world of HG Wells whom he knew well, he got carried away by the subject and ended up writing his best known novel. With BNW, Huxley turned a page, drifting away from what he had done before to write almost exclusively on human potential, and the capacity, or incapacity of man to be one with the world surrounding him.

One has to remember that in BNW Huxley described a modern but authoritarian world, perhaps like the one he had discovered in Italy in the mid 20’s? So could this be the answer? Not really, according to what we learned from the correspondence; Italy at the beginning of their stay was on surface a model of socialism, but in reality a rather disorganized feudal society, nothing compared to the Iron fist of Stalin’s Communism which at this period was vastly unpublicized, or the one not yet established by the Nazis.

Aldous Huxley had already traveled the world. From the visit to the coal miners in Northern England, to India where he saw the dismay of the inferior casts, to America which he crossed41, never stopping in the Indian reservations, but witnessing the cruel poverty bred by the Great Depression. He then gathered basic sources from the London libraries and the rest he found within the realm of his own fertile imagination, and hard work.

My investigations show that reports of excesses in his social life were exaggerated, and the accusation of snobbism and racism by a recent British reviewer are totally unjustified. This is why among other testimonies, the memories of a family of simple servants are more valuable decades after the facts. It shows just how much the couple cared for others. Having been their employers for seven years, the Huxleys had a profound affection for all the Goris, to the point where they managed to provide them with legal papers, even offering them a piece of land on their own property to build themselves a house. Some days before they left for America they proposed to take the entire family with them. The mother declined the offer, but however the Huxleys once gone did not forget them, the letters are here to prove it.

These never published letters as well as the photographs and the interviews are worth editing and being shown to the large circle of Huxley’s readers, preferably before Fosca’s death. A publication in English and in French would do justice to the period.

Fosca today is one of the rare witnesses left of a world long gone. Aldous Huxley had written his masterpiece of anticipation for the generations to come, who realize, as Aldous himself had realized in BNW revisited (1958), that our future holds many resemblances with the one he depicted more than seventy years ago.

Therefore the little girl Fosca is the link between the future as written by Aldous in 1930, and the world of today as seen by eighty-four year old Fosca Bayer Gori, who might well predict to her soon to be born great grand-daughter, the possibility of meeting with the future that Aldous Huxley described a century before in BNW.


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