Aldous Huxley’s fluid vocation has made his essays a reference point in modern literature (Lukàcs, 1910; Adorno, 1969). Short without being poems and always characterized by well-structured plot without being novels (Woolf, 1925), Huxley’s essays writing has in fact become the ‘frontier’ of the XX and XXI century novel (in line with contemporary critical view of the genre, Pavel, 2003; Ercolino, 2014). This chapter focuses on a relatively less known interest of the author. It discusses Aldous Huxley’s view on the relationship, and on the inherent tension, between technological development and exponential increase in human population, and the environmental transformation of the planet. Long before his contemporaries, the author believed that industrial civilization was transforming our planet and human nature as well (Dees, 2015). Huxley’s commitment to imagine an ecologically sustainable form of civilization was, in my opinion, his most grounbreaking trait (Latouche, 2010). The chapter also examines the relevance of this view on some important intellectual and political developments that find their roots in the late 1950s; the transformation of ecology from a mostly descriptive discipline to a modern science concerned with general principles and attracting significant public attention and the emergence of a truly global environmental movement. In particular, in order to identify the backbone of Huxley’s environmental thought, this chapter takes under exam sixteen lectures given at the University of California Santa Barbara in 1959, and published only in 1978 in the volume The Human Situation 1978, and the unpublished essay The Politics of Ecology. The Question of Survival, released in 1963 as “an occasional paper published by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions” in which Huxley develops this theme and utters his last word before dying.

How to Escape a 'Subhuman Lot': Aldous Huxley's "The Politics of Ecology - The Question of Survival"

Elisa Fortunato
2019

Abstract

Aldous Huxley’s fluid vocation has made his essays a reference point in modern literature (Lukàcs, 1910; Adorno, 1969). Short without being poems and always characterized by well-structured plot without being novels (Woolf, 1925), Huxley’s essays writing has in fact become the ‘frontier’ of the XX and XXI century novel (in line with contemporary critical view of the genre, Pavel, 2003; Ercolino, 2014). This chapter focuses on a relatively less known interest of the author. It discusses Aldous Huxley’s view on the relationship, and on the inherent tension, between technological development and exponential increase in human population, and the environmental transformation of the planet. Long before his contemporaries, the author believed that industrial civilization was transforming our planet and human nature as well (Dees, 2015). Huxley’s commitment to imagine an ecologically sustainable form of civilization was, in my opinion, his most grounbreaking trait (Latouche, 2010). The chapter also examines the relevance of this view on some important intellectual and political developments that find their roots in the late 1950s; the transformation of ecology from a mostly descriptive discipline to a modern science concerned with general principles and attracting significant public attention and the emergence of a truly global environmental movement. In particular, in order to identify the backbone of Huxley’s environmental thought, this chapter takes under exam sixteen lectures given at the University of California Santa Barbara in 1959, and published only in 1978 in the volume The Human Situation 1978, and the unpublished essay The Politics of Ecology. The Question of Survival, released in 1963 as “an occasional paper published by the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions” in which Huxley develops this theme and utters his last word before dying.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/264195
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