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Brave New World. Aldous Huxley. The Picture of Dorian Gray. Oscar Wilde. Paperback edition. John Griffiths-Colby. Comment 0. Your review has been submitted successfully. Not registered? Life, facts, things were horribly complicated; ideas, even the most difficult of them, deceptively simple.

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In the world of ideas everything was clear; in life all was obscure, embroiled. Even if one were to grant the truth of these thoughts and ignore the false, even fatal opposition between life and ideas , there is no sign that he is willing to struggle free from education's effects. I could go on and on pointing out the contradictions and cliches in this timid poet's outlook. None of these, of course, prevent him from being a potentially sympathetic character. But while his shy, longings are familiar enough sources of sympathetic identification, he is revealed as an empty shell, a self-described lover of "words" and not "things and ideas and people ' in two revealing episodes.

First, Denis's inability to act, even when offered a proper exemplar, is revealed in an extended set-piece in chapter XIX.

Crome Yellow by Huxley Aldous - AbeBooks

The estate's pater familias , Henry Wimbush, has been working on a history of the family from which he reads to the gathered guests and family in the evenings. One night he tells the story of his not-so-aristocratic grandfather who won the hand of one of the aristocratic, lovely Lapiths, with a mixture of curiosity and not entirely moral, spirit.

Denis is incapable of taking a hint. Second, and in many ways this is the climax of the novel chapter XXIV , Denis discovers he is not "his own severest critic" when he reads Jenny's red notebook full of drawings. He never wonders why he is able to find it. It turns out he recognizes his own ridiculousness and foolishness in Jenny's caricatures of him.

While his hurt is understandable, he draws entirely the wrong lesson:. There are times when he comes into contact with other individuals, when he is forced to take cognisance of the existence of other universes besides himself O ne is apt None of this is false. But he shows no curiosity about Jenny not even after his discovery , who is revealed as the most interesting person among the babbling other guests. In fact, it's clear that his lack of curiosity a leading theme throughout the slim novel condemns him not to get anything he wants.

This is made abundantly clear to the reader.

It may seem perverse that I grant that the book is a comic novel of ideas -- in the way, say Zadie Smith's White Teeth is -- and yet fail to engage with neither the comedy nor the ideas. There is, in fact, quite a bit of comedy, and not a few moments that are the jumping-off places for further reflection about which some other time. But by not challenging, even flattering the reader's felt superiority to its main character, the novel stimulates our pride and, most fatally, our complacency and so is unworthy of our engagement.

But, of course, if it keeps finding passionate readers I am wrong. Reblog 0. You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

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Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate. First published in , Crome Yellow was Aldous Huxley's much-acclaimed debut novel. With the evident relish of the true satirist, he mocked the fads, foibles and spirit of his time with an unsurpassed wit and brilliance. Explore Plus.

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