London life just after World War I, devoid of values and moving headlong into chaos at breakneck speed - Aldous Huxley's Antic Hay, like Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, portrays a world of lost souls madly pursuing both pleasure and meaning. Fake artists, third-rate poets, pompous critics, pseudo-scientists, con-men, bewildered romantics, cock-eyed futurists - all inhabit this world spinning out of control, as wildly comic as it is disturbingly accurate. In a style that ranges from the lyrical to the absurd, and with characters whose identities shift and change as often as their names and appearances, Huxley has here invented a novel that bristles with life and energy, what the New York Times called "a delirium of sense enjoyment!"
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WITH A FOREWORD BY DAVID LODGE
When inspiration leads Theodore Gumbril to design a type of pneumatic trouser to ease the discomfort of sedentary life, he decides the time has come to give up teaching and seek his fortune in the metropolis. He soon finds himself caught up in the hedonistic world of his friends Mercaptan, Lypiatt and the thoroughly civilised Myra Viveash, and his burning ambitions begin to lose their urgency...
Wickedly funny and deliciously barbed, the novel epitomises the glittering neuroticism of the Twenties.Review:
"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)
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