Brave New World and its Legacies

Friday 12 October 2012

Institute of English Studies, University of London, Senate House

Image: the original Chatto & Windus dust-jacket for BNW by Leslie Holland, with permission of Matt Holland.

When Brave New World first appeared in 1932 it caused a sensation. It was obvious that Aldous Huxley was intent on testing the boundaries of propriety (sailing especially close to the wind in terms of sexual and religious obscenity), but what kind of novel had he published? A satire, like his earlier novels; a horrified warning of things to come, or a vision of how things might be, for better or for worse, following a number of scientific, political and social adjustments to the Britain of his day?

While the novel’s title has become embedded in the English language as a catchword for anything that is far-fetched, faddish, futuristic or forbidding, the possible meanings Brave New World have only proliferated over the past eighty years and its relevance to our own world has only increased with time. Certainly, the novel’s significance for our own concerns with eugenics, globalisation, dystopias, urbanisation, population issues, technological innovation, authoritarianism, anarchism, educational theory, mass society, liberty, control, Americanisation, constructions of culture, and the ongoing crisis of capitalism, could not be more obvious.

Provisional Programme

9.15-9-50 Arrivals
9.50-9.55 David Bradshaw: Opening Remarks
9.55-10.45 Patrick Parrinder: `Brave New World as a Modern Utopia’
10.45-11.00 Coffee

Panel 1

Nathan Waddell: '"What People Used to Call High Art": Classical Music, Technocracy and Brave New World'

Jake Poller: 'Brave New World: The Supernatural in Scientific Clothing'

Nick Murray : 'The Sign of the T: The Roots of Huxley’s Anti-Fordism in Brave New World'

12.15-1.05 Jonathan Greenberg: 'Futures, Near and Far'
1.05-2.15 Lunch

Panel 2

Joanna Kellond: 'The Interval between Desire and Consummation: Brave New World and the Politics of Pleasure'

Adam Phillips: 'Loving our Servitude: The Tyranny of Modern Consumer Society'

Kieran Quinlan: 'A Brave New World in the American South: The Case of Walker Percy'


Panel 3

Sheena Culley: 'Brave New World and the Idea of Comfort'

Kelly McErlean: 'Interactive Narratives: Extending Narrative Perspectives'

Gregory Claeys: 'Huxley and Dystopia: Some Anomalies'

4.45-5.00 Tea
5.00-5.50 David Bradshaw: 'Citizens of the New Order: Daltonism, Dartington and the Downside of Liberty'
5.50-6.00 Nick Murray: Closing Remarks


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