Huxley’s “Brave New World” was published in England in February 1932 and in Germany in May under the title “Welt – whither?”. The title goes back to a Shakespeare quote that exists in various German translations. The “novel of the future” is still one of the top titles on the list of banned books. In 1938 it was included on the National Socialists’ list of “harmful and undesirable literature”. Only with the new translation in 1953 did the novel become better known in Germany and promptly compared to “1984” by George Orwell. Both stories about the future had only one thing in common: they both predicted that the metric system would apply in the future.
What is missing: In the fast-paced world of technology, there is often the time to re-sort all the news and background information. At the weekend we want to take it, follow the side paths away from the current, try different perspectives and make nuances audible.
More on the features section “Missing Link”
Beautiful whole world
The “Brave New World” described by Huxley has reached the year 2540 AD, converted to the year 632 according to Ford. Henry Ford is the god of this world in which unbridled consumption is obligatory. Humans are artificially bred in large production facilities, which in turn are operated by humans. Through Pavlovian conditioning, electrocution, and sleep hypnosis, they are conditioned to spend their lives in a particular caste. Any extreme is forbidden. Anyone who feels unwell takes the drug Soma. On the other hand, sexuality can be lived out without limits within one’s own caste: everyone belongs to everyone.
In this perfect world, an alpha male named Bernard Marx vacations with a woman named Lenina Crowne on a reservation in the American desert. There the Pueblo Indians live as they have always lived. Children are born of mothers and grow up in a family. During their visit, Bernard and Lenina meet two misfits, a mother and her now-adult son, who seem to have been forgotten by the civilized world on the reservation. Nevertheless, the son speaks English, which he has taught himself with the help of the collected works of Shakespeare.
Bernard manages to enable mother and son to fly over the reservation’s death fences and return to civilization. There, the “savage”, called Mr. Savage, caused quite a stir. He becomes a media star while his mother, intoxicated with Soma, dies. With Shakespearean ideals in mind, he cannot engage in the casual sexual relationships that society demands. He flees into a wasteland and flagellates himself as he learned from the Indians on the reservation. Caught up by the civilized people with their Flyverns, an “orgy of reconciliation” ensues, in which the savage whips himself and hangs himself the next day.
Huxley’s original idea
Aldous Huxley wrote his novel in the spring of 1931 at his home in Sanary-sur-Mer, France. Huxley originally had the idea of writing a parody of HG Wells’ science fiction, specifically his 1923 novel Men Equal to Gods. But under the impression of scientific publications, the topic changed. He was particularly concerned with the in vitro fertilization of the American doctor Gregory Pincus, who later invented the birth control pill.
Other themes were introduced through the Scriptures Daedalus, or, Science and the Future by British geneticist and Marxist JBS Haldane. The Brave New World’s unbridled sex culture and consumer deification was an exaggeration of “American” conditions that horrified Huxley – although he himself had a “free marriage”.