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Chapter 6 - Reproduction and Dystopia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 June 2021

Aaron Matz
Affiliation:
Scripps College, California
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Summary

Chapter 6, “Reproduction and Dystopia,” sets out to show that Aldous Huxley’s well-known satire of a reproductive future in Brave New World – humans engineered in bottles, sorted into different classes – is only a small part of his complex moral attitude toward procreation. Novels like Point Counter Point and Island make clear that it was not only cold reproductive technologies that worried Huxley: he considered any creation of new persons to be an ethical quandary. He was prescient in his concern about the environmental degradation brought on by overpopulation – in 1928 he was already warning of humanity’s “tropism toward fossilized carrion.” Huxley’s work betrays a deep melancholy about the peopling of the earth. In this respect he is a kind of prophet for a dystopian tradition that is still with us. This chapter, in its second half, turns from Huxley to his heirs – contemporary novelists like Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michel Houellebecq – whose glittering dystopian fantasies cannot conceal a more ordinary despair about the perpetuation of human life.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • Reproduction and Dystopia
  • Aaron Matz, Scripps College, California
  • Book: The Novel and the Problem of New Life
  • Online publication: 24 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108989718.007
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  • Reproduction and Dystopia
  • Aaron Matz, Scripps College, California
  • Book: The Novel and the Problem of New Life
  • Online publication: 24 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108989718.007
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Reproduction and Dystopia
  • Aaron Matz, Scripps College, California
  • Book: The Novel and the Problem of New Life
  • Online publication: 24 June 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108989718.007
Available formats
×