Aldous Huxley: Ape and Essence



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There are times and this is one of them when the world seems purposefully beautiful when it is as though some mind in things had suddenly chosen to make manifest for all who choose to see the supernatural eality that underlies all appearances I was eading Ape and Essence in a sunlit park when I was struck by this line It emitted a beacon of light that folded back on itself and enveloped these words this book my hands my legs the ground under my feet the park the city its surrounding forests the seas and the planet in a golden glow that made me look at it all with a disposition that was generous than ever I ve got a weak spot for sumptuous prose whether carefully crafted or welling up from a natural spring but it s been since eading GK Chesterton and Charles Dickens that I ve been so smitten with man s way of words Ape and Essence made me discover that Huxley belongs up there with the other wizards of writingThe fact that the strongest point of this book is its prose doesn t help me in eviewing it very effectively I can t hope to emulate it obviously Weaving some kind of metaphor around it with silly beacons of light folding back on themselves can tell you something about the effect it had on me but it doesn t convey what it is in its essence Its essence can only be experienced through direct contact with this book Much like with a song people can tell you it s good but it s only upon hearing it for yourself that you can truly be immersed into what other people s opinions unsuccesfully tried to convey Brilliance Simple basic brilliance I could present you with some uotes a selection of flowers grown and cultivated in this bright author s garden patch of a book but they d whither in my clumsy hands out in this cold eviewSo what else can I do to convince you to ead this aside from maladroitly trying to describe its beauty beyond expression I can try by mentioning this tells the stories that Fahrenheit 451 and Lord of the Flies tried to tell only with humour and grace and that it did so way before those well known books That it paints the picture of a grey post apocalyptic world but with colour and poetry That it dissects modern society in a way that is as pertinent today as it was when it was first written That it ecognises both the ape and the essence within all of us that amidst the bleak emnants of a collapsed society it offers an optimistic vision a convincing explanation of why evil can t endure That it made me smile Faced with the limits of my eviewing prowess in the face of this work of congenial genius I decided to give you another flower A small one a description of a woman that wears the same expression this book would if it had a face Cherish it give it warmth and let its scent convince you to explore this story for yourself In a minute or two she is lying uite still in the crook of his arm Sighing happily she opens her eyes looks up at him and smiles with an expression of tenderness to which the dimples add a avishingly incongruous hint of mischief Though I adored Brave New World and therefore considered myself familiar with its famous author I had never even heard of Ape and Essence before stumbling across it on one of the dustier shelves in the local library Never again will I make the mistake of elegating an author to the one book wonder list This little 150 page book is so utterly bizarre eerie beautiful and perfect that from the very first eading it has leapt straight into my list of all time favourites Brave New World makes it very clear that Huxley had a huge pro. In February 2108 the New Zealand Rediscovery Expedition eaches California at last It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war

Blem with the egotistical nationalism of modern society Ape and Essence takes this view to an extreme and though I agreed with many of his points it was the writers unusual and elouent way of getting them across that made me fall in love The story is told in two sections The first only 25 pages long is from the point of view of a screen writer who finds a ejected screenplay entitled Of Ape and Essence and goes on a journey to meet the author The second much longer part is the transcription of this screenplay It details how the world has been destroyed through atomic warfare and human kind worship the devil Beliel as they cannot face the idea that they are in fact to blame for their own destruction Such an inherently human trait the fear of guilt the need to feel blameless I suppose this is where the term scapegoat comes in handy The prose is strange and uite beautiful with a narrator who speaks in poetry and details that come from the screenplay nature of the work Potential soundtracks are mentioned as are details such as close up on or wide shot of Voices fade out as Narrator speaks again The themes are all politically charged a warning against selfish hedonism and eually deprivation and self harm caused by eligion and patriotism Lines include Church and State Greed and Hate Two baboon persons In one Supreme Gorilla and The longer you study modern history the evidence you find of Beliel s Guiding Hand these lines fall far short of giving any idea as to the odd beauty of the writing but I wanted to include them anywayuite honestly writing a short eview of this book is near impossible it would be all too easy to write an essay like discussion dissection dissertation of Huxley s ideas about eligion war politics etc but I think to do so would in fact be detrimental to the book itself at leasst without having the anaylitical skills to do it justice I will leave the in depth analysis to a possible future thesis but by not going in depth there is little to say here other than this is a book that begs for many eadings and I will do so very happily I strongly suggest you do the same All chantingGive me DetumescenceGive me DetumescenceGive me DetumescenceIn a post apocalyptic world destroyed by the nefarious nationalistic exploitation of science Huxley offers up a supremely hilarious post apocalyptic satire In Los Angeles a new eligion has arisen where the Devil as Belial has substituted God while maintaining all other aspects of today s structured institutions of faith Using this simple device he penetratingly skewers organized eligion effectively than with direct criticism Along the way he delights in puncturing the mystiue of Hollywood and the carefree mid twentieth century lifestyle of Southern California These are perennial Huxley themes in his fiction and non fiction but nowhere does he present them in such an over the top funny way The satire is hilarious continuous and irreverent There was hardly a single page that I didn t laugh or Two guys from Hollywood are talking about stuff One of them is the first person narrator the other is a guy who s gotten a mistress despite the fact that he didn t eally want one and now he s in trouble with his wifeI m making it sound way interesting than it actually is I spaced out while eading some of their discussion which was about Gandhi getting murdered and the nature of marxism and fascism and politics and whateverIn the middle of the philosophy I shut the book and ead the summary on the back In February 2108 the New Zealand Rediscovery Expediti. Ut the blight of adioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors The expedition expects to find physical destruction but they are uite unpr.

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On eaches California at last It is over a century since the world was devastated by nuclear war but the blight of adioactivity and disease still gnaws away at the survivors Yeah no elation to what I was eading I had the weird feeling the book s cover had been eplaced you knowSo as the two Hollywood guys walk around a truck filled with manuscripts headed for the incinerator takes a sudden turn and three scripts fall out Two are declared to be crap one is ead by the two friends who go in search of the mysterious writer but find out that he died a few weeks before and has no family but his neighbors piece together a short history of the guy which whateverAnd then the script is eproduced in its entirety and well to be honest no wonder it was heading to the incinerator It starts with SYMBOLISM and baboons who act like humans and who have Albert Einsiteins on leashes making them create weapons which let them destroy the world Very symbol much wow More spacing out on my side I had to e ead some of this stuffLater on New Zealanders go off to explore the world since they e the only ones who apparently escaped the nuclear war because nobody cared much about them go New Zealand They land in America somewhere next to LA and one of the characters a botanist is captured by a tribe of genetically mutated people who have extra fingers toes and pairs of nipples who have mating seasons and who are dead set on worshiping the devil seeing him as a cause of the world s destructionI m making this sound interesting again It s all very symbolic and philosophical and the priests keep explaining how the devil convinced humanity to self destruct So the New Zealand dude gets left behind by his colleagues falls in love with one of the natives and uns off with her in search of a colony of other humans because the devil worshipers hate people who have sex out of mating seasonSymbolism poking fun at humanity philosophising about the world poetry thrown everywhere andom words your eyes will skip over and less fun than Brave New World The leech s kiss the suid s embrace the prurient ape s defiling touch And do you like the human ace No not muchI ead this book in high school after I had finished Brave New World Almost back to back Ape and Essence is a story within a story a screenplay written by one of the semi autobiographical characters The screenplay is escued from the Hollywood eject bin and after the finders find the author on his desert hacienda the screenplay then becomes the novel The uote above is Huxley speaking his own mind as well as the ecluse author s The screenplay is a great literary device by which Huxley becomes twice emoved in a sense from the themes and ideas articulated therein The screenplay elates a tale of post nuclear war society where survivors from New Zealand ediscover what s left of California and find humans there have devolved into I won t spoil it Ape is a much ambitious novel than BNW and satirizes in less than 200 pages Hollywood Southern California the insanity of the Cold War science human nature a smorgasbord of targets all deftly skewered with the inimitable Huxley wit In character and plot development Ape is a mature and compelling novel than the allegorical BNW although the latter seems like the accurate prediction of our future as a species Prurient apes indeed Confession I actually bought and ead the Bantam paperback edition with the cover shown for this eview the ambiguous menacing face above the two naked people Truth to tell the cover hooked me to buy the book. Epared for the moral degradation they meet Ape and Essence is Huxley's vision of the uin of humanity told with all his knowledge and imaginative geniu.

Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer and one of the most prominent members of the famous Huxley family He spent the latter part of his life in the United States living in Los Angeles from 1937 until his death in 1963 Best known for his novels and wide ranging output of essays he also published short stories poetry travel writing and film stories and scripts Through his novels and es