This book on Aldus Huxley is a fructification of Dr. A.A. Mutalik-Desai's decades of genuine interest and profound scholarship in the life and work of one of the greatest intellectual giants in the history of world literature inspired and sustained by his renowned and dedicated teachers and guides in India and abroad. Although this is an honestly and scrupulously compiled book of Dr. Mutalik-Desai’s well-written and well-researched critical essays published in highly esteemed national and international journals and papers presented at the like seminars, yet the author has reworked on them and expanded them as per his present requirement so that it becomes a fascinating brilliant study for the casual and serious scholars and critics of Aldus Huxley.
Today when Indian literary scholars are fashionably engaged in promoting Indian Literature in English investing their diligence into the luxury of smooth course, it is only a true scholar of immense industry like Dr. Desai who would dare undertake such a formidable task. The book not only informs but also awakens and enlightens the reader about the distinguished heredity of Aldous Huxley, his love for the independence of India, the influence of Indian thought on his personality, the abundance of his diverse scholarship, travels and rich writings drenched in the subtle and sensitive imagination and sympathy of the artist and the contemplative objectivity of a scientist in the face of oddities of life till the end. We are acquainted with the perils and promise of science, culture and civilization as envisioned by Huxley. One need develop the traits of a genius to understand the brilliant genius of Huxley, Dr. AAMD has fairly shown these traits in writing this book and he deserves full praise for all the labor done.
The author begins with a poignantly moving introduction. Yes I remember very clearly even today how President JFK was brutally assassinated making a stunning and benumbing impact on the life of nations. But I didn’t know that Huxley’s tragic death also coincided with that. Thanx Dr. Desai. I would like to note here that on that very day, November 22, 1963, five top brass officers of the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy were killed in the aircrash at Banihal Pass in J&K. These three tragic events that befell mankind, darkened the vision in international relations, the world of literature and the glory of Indian defence forces. However, the author goes on to introduce the outstanding greatness of Huxley reflecting on his envious heredity, influences, prolific creativity, his moral and intellectual honesty and integrity which remained indispensable to his pursuit of truth and the controversies he created.
It is against these perspectives that the texts and contexts have been discussed threadbare with relevant quotations from the novels to substantiate his thesis on the novelist and thinker. It is true that Huxley has never been out of fashion and has always been a part of the syllabi at the undergraduate and graduate level in a large number of universities all over the world. The working of Huxley Societies at many institutions in many countries emphasizes the relevance and excellence of this versatile genius.
The author discusses the Utopian vision and the concept of brave new world that concretely bring out the philosopher, the thinker, the educator and the humanist in this intellectual of high order. The last three chapters of this book establish firmly the modernity and universality of this precious gem of mankind. Huxley studies have received a greater boost after his absence in flesh and blood and Dr. Desai is at pains to give us international perspectives and retrospect. The chronological survey of Huxley’s life, genre-wise division of the major works of Huxley supplemented with a carefully selected list of material for Huxley studies will surely encourage and inspire the scholars and critics to know and explore more about this grand man of contradictions, creativity and controversy ready to clash and remain calm till the opponent understands.
Aldous Huxley: Novelist & Thinker written by Dr. A .A. Mutalik-Desai, published by Veesa Books, Nagpur, Ed. 2010, ISBN 978-81-906172-9-1, Pages 222, Price Rs. 450/-