Aldous Huxley and eugenics
West End Lane Bookstore's first sale of 2007 was Brave New World - I'm about to defend my own dystopian thesis so reckoned it was time for a re-read.
I was shocked to learn from the introduction to my copy that Aldous Huxley was a eugenicist. He switched tack when Hitler gave eugenics a bad name, but told the BBC in 1932 that eugenicist measures could arrest the 'rapid deterioration... of the whole West European stock.'
I had never thought that Huxley might have been setting up his 'hatcheries' as a better model for the human race. Truly Brave New World never even tries to evoke sympathy for the gamma classes, the lower orders often spoken of as 'simian'. Readers accept his book as a dystopian classic, an example of how corporate values and an obsessive focus on consumerism can distort and debase humanity, and they are not wrong to do so. Somehow the process of creation led Huxley away from trumpeting his own eugenicist beliefs and writing something with universal resonance. Go deep enough, and it seems a writer's books can overcome the squalor of a writer's intellect.