Brave New World and its Legacies

full name / name of organization: 
David Bradshaw / Worcester College, University of Oxford
contact email: 
david.bradshaw@worc.ox.ac.uk

Friday 12 October 2012

Institute of English Studies, London University

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. Proposed papers that are keyed to any of these categories are encouraged, but we also look forward to receiving proposals that engage with any of Brave New World’s historical contexts, contemporary resonances and manifold legacies.

Please send proposals of up to 300 words for 20-minute papers to david.bradshaw@worc.ox.ac.uk by 15 June 2012.

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