Antic Hay Paperback – 2 Sep 2004
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"Few present-day writers would dare to be so heroically encyclopaedic, such ardent gleaners of gossip and table talk as well as of the profounder reveries of literature, history, science and religion" (Spectator)
"The great uniting principles that swept mankind along in their current have lost their force, and Huxley's intellectuals find themselves in a maelstrom formed by the new forces of the time. For them, life has become boring, futile, full of ennui. So we get the 'Antic Hay', the dance of profane love, but with the wood-wild strains of Pan broken up into the hesitating rhythms demanded by the fever of modern life. Huxley has a fine sensibility and his wit and fresh vision lend Antic Hay a crystalline quality" (Guardian)
'Huxley brings extraordinary vigour and gusto to every page he writes' SpectatorSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I laughed out loud on numerous occasions and also berated myself quitely for my own inabilities with other languages.
You will put it down, because it's long, but you'll pick it up again soon enough. Easily amongst the best of 20th Century fiction.
The plot, such as it is, is merely a device for Aldous Huxley to convey different viewpoints. The lack of any real story is, for a work of fiction, a serious limitation, and one I struggled with. Additionally, a classical education, and some familiarity with French and Latin, is advantageous when reading this book. As a reader lacking these skills I had to regularly pause to make online searches to clarify various references that would otherwise have gone over my head.
So, with no story, what are we left with? A clever, well written social satire very much of its time. The characters only exist to represent various archetypes (an artist, a poet, a promiscuous flapper, an innocent etc.) whose primary role is to exchange clever dialogue.
Throughout the novel Gumbril, the central character, struggles to reconcile the two sides of his personality: 'the Mild and Melancholy one', who exalts in nature, apprehends divinity in Mozart’s G minor Quintet, and believes in romantic love; versus 'the Complete Man', who subscribes to the death of God, scoffs at romantic ideals, and pursues dangerous liaisons. In post-WW1 London, Huxley only identifies one winner in that particular conflict.
It is a quick, easy read, and whilst I really enjoyed a few scenes, overall it was too incoherent, only sporadically entertaining, and sometimes downright annoying. I never got any clear sense of what Aldous Huxley wanted to say with this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quite the silliest and most pretentious novel I've ever read. Admittedly, that's how the characters are meant to be portrayed, but unfortunately the author ends up coming across... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Michael Montgomery
First published in 1923 this story opens in 1922. Theodore Gumbril, junior, a teacher, whilst ruminating at a school church attendance decides to quit his job and promote his new... Read morePublished 24 months ago by M. Dowden
I first read this about 30years ago and am currently re-reading all his novels. This, his second, is perhaps a little more serious than Crome Yellow and the satire has more of an... Read morePublished on 14 Oct. 2013 by argybargy
I believe it goes without saying that Antic Hay is not in the same league as Brave New World, but having also read Eyeless in Gaza I still had fairly high hopes for Antic Hay. Read morePublished on 28 Dec. 2010 by EmmaM2006
A great sadness permeates this book, but it remains a comic novel. The tragedy of the First World War is still fresh and the book's characters are still feeling, or trying not to... Read morePublished on 12 Jan. 2007 by Graham Hale