This collection contains three letters. Two letters concern Huxley’s novel Island, and are addressed to L. Rust Hills, who was the fiction editor at Esquire magazine from 1956 until 1963. One letter concerns the clinical availability of LSD and references the pharmaceutical companies that were manufacturing LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin in 1961.
Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26,1894 in Godalming, England to T. H. Huxley and Julia Arnold Huxley. He was the third of four children and lost both his mother and his sister in 1908. Huxley’s father was a scientist and a supporter of Darwinism; his mother was the niece of poet Matthew Arnold. Huxley attended Hillside School in Godalming from 1903 until 1908 and Eaton College on a scholarship from 1908 until1913; he received a BA (with honors) in English Literature and Philosophy from Balliol College, Oxford in 1915. At sixteen years of age, Huxley contracted keratitis, which left him temporarily blind. He learned to read Braille and used it until he regained partial vision, which allowed him to return to his studies. In 1919, he married Maria Nys who died in 1955 from breast cancer; a year later, he married Laura Archera, and they had a son together. Huxley became a full-time writer in 1921 and moved to California in 1937, where he also worked as a freelance screenwriter and co-wrote screenplays such as Pride and Prejudice (1940), Jane Eyre (1944), and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland (1951). Huxley is widely published from his early works Crome Yellow (1921) and Antic Hay (1928) to his later works The Genius and the Goddess (1955) and Island (1962). His work can be divided into two periods: “his early work, much of it social satire, is arch and occasionally condescending; his later work, essentially mystical, is prophetic but in places self-righteous.” Huxley’s more “psychedelic” and “mystical” published works are: Brave New World (1932), Island (1962), Point Counter Point (1928), Heaven and Hell (1956), and The Doors of Perception (1963), which is interestingly where the band The Doors took their name. Huxley’s brother, Julian, a scientist and also a prolific writer, wrote Aldous Huxley, 1894-1963; A Memorial Volume (1965). In 1960, Aldous Huxley was diagnosed with throat cancer and died November 22, 1963, the same day as John F. Kennedy’s assassination and C. S. Lewis’ death. Even after his death, authors are still publishing works on Huxley and his writings, and many of his articles and books have been reprinted. Tracy Lee Simmons in the National Review writes of Huxley stating that he is “often wrong, always fascinating, when right, dead right, almost in spite of himself.”
"Aldous (Leonard) Huxley." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 16 Dec. 2011.