Primarily known for his contribution to dystopian literature with his publication of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley helped shape the world of literature, especially science fiction.
However, his involvement in culture within and outside the literary realm is far more substantial than one may initially think.
To commemorate Huxley on his birthday (born 118 years ago), here are some fun facts about his life:
Disney rejected Huxley’s screen play of Alice in Wonderland—there were simply too many big words. However, the final portrayal of the hookah-smoking caterpillar is supposedly a nod to Huxley.
Huxley appears on the album cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Huxley’s eyesight problems drove him to give up his dreams of being a scientist and instead begin a writing career. He was practically blind for a few years as a teenager.
George Orwell and Stephen Runcimen were Huxley’s students.
Literary friends of Huxley included Ray Bradbury and D. H. Lawrence.
Huxley borrowed the title of his book The Doors of Perception from a line of William Blake’s Marriage of Heaven and Hell. He similarly alludes to Miranda’s speech in Shakespeare’s Tempest in his title Brave New World.
Huxley died on November 22, 1963—the same day that C. S. Lewis and JFK died.
At Huxley’s request, his wife Laura administered LSD to her husband a few hours before he died.