Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 January 2009
Surveying the American scene in 1958, Aldous Huxley recorded his dismay over the speed with which Brave New World was becoming realized in contemporary developments: “The nightmare of total organization, which I had situated in the seventh century After Ford, has emerged from the safe, remote future and is now awaiting us, just around the next corner.” Having struck a keynote of urgency Huxley then lines up a series of oppositions between limited disorder, individuality and freedom on the one hand, and order, automatism and subjection on the other in order to express his liberal anxieties that political and social organization might hypertrophy. Huxley sums up an abiding fear which runs through American dystopian fiction of the 1950s that individuals will lose their identity and become the two-dimensional stereotypes indicated in two catch-phrases of the period: the “organization man” and the “man in the grey flannel suit. ” William H. Whyte's 1956 study diagnoses the demise of the Protestant ethic in American life and its replacement by a corporate one which privileges “belongingness. ” The result might be, he warns, not a world controlled by self-evident enemies familiar from Nineteen Eighty-Four, but an antiseptic regime presided over by a “mild-looking group of therapists who, like the Grand Inquisitor, would be doing what they did to help you.”
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5 Roshwald, , letter of 1988, quoted in Franklin, H. Bruce, “Afterword,” Level 7, by Mordecai Roshwald (Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1989), 190Google Scholar. This edition corrects errors which appeared in the original 1959 edition of the novel.
6 Letter from Mordecai Roshwald, 29 April, 1993. I have discussed these themes in greater detail in “Push-Button Holocaust: Mordecai Roshwald's Level 7,” Foundation, 57 (Spring 1993), 68–86Google Scholar.
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11 Fahrenheit 451 papers, California State University, Fullerton, second folder, unnumbered 1953; Marshall, McLuhan, Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964), 41Google Scholar.
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