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Ape and Essence Paperback – August 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0929587782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0929587783
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,674 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The ultimate horror vision -- but one not without humor" Los Angeles Times "Ape and Essence leaves us in mingled respect of the author's intelligence and disgust for the world he had created" Independent "Clever, brutal, thoughtful, original...a nauseating vision of a still-possible future" -- Anthony Burgess "Powerfully moving" Times Literary Supplement "Painfully and majestically vivid; it is a great piece of work" Guardian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Aldous Huxley (1894–1963), one of the most important English novelists of the twentieth century, is best known for Brave New World, Point Counter Point, Crome Yellow, and other novels, as well as his Collected Short Stories, also published by Ivan R. Dee.

More About the Author

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) is the author of the classic novels Island, Eyeless in Gaza, and The Genius and the Goddess, as well as such critically acclaimed nonfiction works as The Devils of Loudun, The Doors of Perception, and The Perennial Philosophy. Born in Surrey, England, and educated at Oxford, he died in Los Angeles.

Customer Reviews

I recommend everyone read all of huxely's books.
Jonathon M. Krzywicki
All I can say is that this book is a must read and every bit as important as Brave New World.
dickard bond
The misuse of the books was pictured in Brave New World and in Orwell's 1984 as well.
Aistis Zidanavicius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Leach HALL OF FAME on July 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
The only other Aldous Huxley book I ever read was "Brave New World," and that was at least ten years ago. For most people, I think that is the only Huxley book they know about. It's a shame, because this book, "Ape and Essence," is a true Huxley gem. The back of the book says Huxley wrote this in 1948 as a response to the use of atomic weapons in WWII and the emerging Cold War. "Brave New World" showed us a future of soma-laden people cared for by the state from cradle to grave. "Ape and Essence" doesn't have anything nearly as pleasant as soma. In this new world, people are ruled by a satanic theocracy after a nuclear war.
The book is pretty easy to describe. Two Hollywood types find a manuscript that dropped off a truck bound for the incinerator. The script is entitled, "Ape and Essence," by a William Tallis. Somebody didn't care much for his script; they marked it incinerate and underlined that word twice. The two read the script and try to find Mr. Tallis, only to discover that he died a few months earlier. What follows this brief introduction is the script, in its entirety.
"Ape and Essence" is about a post-nuclear holocaust world. New Zealand escaped the holocaust, and now they are sending explorers to America to see how the world is coming along. The main character here is Dr. Poole, a botanist. The survivors who roam the ruins of Los Angeles capture Poole and agree to let him live if he can improve crop production. Poole witnesses some unusual behavior amongst the natives, behavior that is explained to him by the archpriest of Belial.
Huxley uses this odd world as a backdrop for his own views on humanity in the 20th century. Huxley feels that mankind never got past the beast (or ape) inside.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Not as well-crafted as Huxley's better-known _Brave_New_World_, and I think I can guess why. Huxley, despondent over contemporary events and trends, must have felt crushed with utter despair and yet spurred by the conviction that he could not remain silent. Under such stress it's hard to attend to belleletristic niceties. Huxley also was experimenting with form. The story is presented as a stylized movie script, in the same sense that Goethe's _Faust_ is a stylized drama.
Nevertheless, this is a powerful, passionate, and haunting book. I cannot think of any other book which makes such a frighteningly real case for Evil as an operative principle in the world. Even more amazing, this case is presented under the guise of what looks and sounds like a B-grade horror flick. Imagine if, say, Dostoevsky had written his great novels as comic books -- and they still had the same terrifying, probing depth as the novels. That's essentially the effet that Huxley achieves, and it is uncanny.
Huxley is speaking of the condition of modern civilization *as it is*, under a set of grotesque, phantasmagoric masks. Unforgettable.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Gary C. Marfin on November 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
Aldous Huxley's Apes and Essence is science fiction combined with the allegorical drive of a Swift's Gulliver's Travels. It ought to assume a proud place beside other works on retro-futures -- novels like, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and films of the Mad Max genre. Huxley is convinced that we opted for the worst of both worlds -- East and West -- by failing to curb the capability of science with the wisdom and moderation of Eastern mysticism. Here too is the brave new eugenicsl, and insofar as Huxley is trying to point to this as a future dilemma, he is decisively on track.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By dickard bond on December 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is an unbelievable prophecy. I find it more erie than Orwell's 1984. The story lacks the smoothness of Brave New World, yet it's importance is equal. To look to the future of society is to read Brave New World and Ape and Essence, and figure out where we are headed. I can already see some of the philosophies described in the book in our society as we speak, and we have not yet had a nuclear holocaust. All I can say is that this book is a must read and every bit as important as Brave New World.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book quite rapidly (two days) and really liked it.

It's 1948, Ghandi has just been assassinated, and two guys connected to the movie business come across a script that's just fallen from a trash truck. They set out to find the author, whose script makes up the bulk of the novel.

There are a lot of wonderful "postmodern" touches here -- for example, one of the main characters in the script picks up a copy of Shelley that's about to be burned, and ends up reading it at the grave of the fictional author of the script saved from the trash heap.

In addition, this book's scenes of apes lording themselves over human beings unquestionably inspired Planet of the Apes.

And finally, the novel's descriptions of classical music in its portrayal of a dystopia probably influenced A Clockwork Orange. In fact, Anthony Burgess named Ape and Essence one of the best novels in English since 1939:

"Novels like Ape and Essence seem now to be very much products of their time [immediately post-Hiroshima] and rather dated. But this is Huxley -- clever, brutal, thoughtful, original -- and his fictional tract clings to the mind....It is a nauseating vision of a still possible future...."

Well worth reading.
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