- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; Reprint edition (January 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1566630185
- ISBN-13: 978-1566630184
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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After Many a Summer Dies the Swan Paperback – January 1, 1993
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A comedic novel written by Aldous Huxley. Published in 1939 under the title After Many a Summer, the novel was republished under its current title later in the same year. Written soon after Huxley left England and settled in California, the novel is Huxley's examination of American culture, particularly what he saw as its narcissism, superficiality, and obsession with youth. The title is a line from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "Tithonus," about a figure from Greek mythology to whom Zeus gave eternal life but not eternal youth. In Huxley's novel, California millionaire Jo Stoyte learns of an English nobleman who discovered a way to vastly extend the human life span. Stoyte travels to England and finds the nobleman still alive, but he has devolved into an apelike creature. Stoyte decides to extend his life regardless of the consequences. --The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
About the Author
Aldous Huxley (1894–1963), one of the most important English novelists of the twentieth century, is best known for A Brave New World and other novels and short stories, including Ape and Essence and Collected Short Stories, both published by Ivan R. Dee.
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Top Customer Reviews
Books by authors who are iconic for one massive success such as Brave New World, often have terrific material that's unfortunately overlooked, or just lost in time. Having recently found and enjoyed Erich Maria Remarque's less famous works, and this, I now look at the work of their American contemporaries like Hemingway and Fitzgerald with a jaundiced eye, and wonder....Is that all there is?
The book, a rumination on greed and a statement against the suppurating wound that is Hollywood, concerns a moronic, self-loathing mogul hidden away in his Xanadu-like castle who nevertheless fears death and wants to live forever. With the help of his sex-crazed doctor, hilarity ensues involving carps that have been around since Napoleon was in his diapers, and a member of British nobility and his housekeeper who have devolved into ape-men -- all interspersed with a nearly nihilistic discourse between the mogul's sagacious neighbor and a naive research assistant: ("Pleasure cannot be shared; like Pain, it can only be experienced or inflicted, and when we give Pleasure to our Lovers or bestow Charity upon the Needy, we do so, not to gratify the object of our Benevolence, but only ourselves" or "In relation to Pain, that empty word, Infinity, comes near to having a meaning. This is not the case with Pleasure; for Pleasure is strictly finite and any attempt to extend its boundaries results in its transformation into Pain.")
Huxley has turned in a great satire on the American Dream that is no less relevant or biting 70 years after it was first published. It's like "The Picture of Dorian Gray" without the beauty, or "Citizen Kane" without the grandstanding.
If it were just for the ideas alone, "After Many a Summer" might not be enough to turn the pages, but Huxley's flair for weaving the tiniest details into startling prose are as evident here as in the more accessible "Brave New World." For example, this description of the naive research assistant in the midst of a sea change, after taking off his glasses in preparation for sleep: "Deprived of their six and a half diopters of correction, his eyes were instantly reduced to a state of physiological despair. Curved crystal had become their element; unspectacled, they were like a pair of jellied sea creatures, suddenly taken out of water. Then the light went out; and it was as though the poor things had been mercifully dropped for safe keeping, into an aquarium."
I am not going to write an analysis of the book. That is not my way. I will simply say that those that are fans of good, thought-provoking reading should find this book at their local library (Where I originally read this title) or pick one up on Amazon. My very favorite quote comes from this book, and by the end you will have been changed; and first and foremost that is what I believe a good book can and or should do.