Identity Paradoxes
: The Self and Others in the Literature of Aldous Huxley 

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This dissertation is a study of the literature of Aldous Huxley, especially his fiction, with a particular focus on the issue of identity. By observing his representations of the self and Others, and by elucidating his attitude towards political and cultural problems pertaining to identity, I aim to reveal significant aspects of this topic, which have not been fully recognized in recent research on his work. Each chapter offers close readings of his texts biographically, historically and theoretically.
Chapter I, “Self,” sheds light on Huxley’s early writing on the Great War, particularly the “Farcical History of Richard Greenow,” disclosing his insights into the mind, which are then compared with psychoanalytic discourses on human aggression. Chapter II, “Woman,” focuses on Point Counter Point and analyses female characters while considering the actual women around the author as well as gender criticism of the maternal and the feminine. Chapter III, “Savage,” examines Brave New World by contextualizing the Savage Reservation and the hero Savage with their possible sources in anthropology in order to align the text with postcolonial concerns. Chapter IV,
“Mass,” delves into how Huxley deepened his Utopian ideas in his later career, and investigates specifically Eyeless in Gaza and Island in relation to Marxist discussions of Utopia and totality.
With his sensitivity and imagination, the novelist Aldous Huxley consistently questioned the concept of identity in ways that might now seem postmodernist. However, his fear that loss of identity would lead to loss of meaning in life, history and the world prompted him to seek a paradoxical form of identity that was not fixed or exclusive, and that was based on his scientific and religious belief in the changing and hybrid “unity,” existing behind all animate and inanimate beings.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorSantanu Das (Supervisor) & Max Saunders (Supervisor)

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