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Eyeless in Gaza

Eyeless in Gaza

huxley beavis miller nature

a novel by A. Huxley, published in 1936. Much criticized at the time for its pacifist ideology, it can now be read as an autobiographical, emotionally introspective work which marked Huxley's evolution from satirist to moralist. The carefully shuffled chronology of the novel is crucial in showing the development of Anthony Beavis, a detached observer of human behaviour insistent on his own freedom from commitment, to an awareness of his ‘duties towards himself and others and the nature of things’. It opens on 30 August 1933, Beavis's forty-second birthday, then shifts back and forth between 1902 and 1935, covering the death of his mother and the suicide of his ascetic schoolfriend Brian Foxe; sexual affairs with Mary Amberley and subsequently her daughter Helen; the miraculous meeting with Dr Miller whilst in Mexico and consequent involvement in the peace movement. Miller, a vehicle for the ideas of Gerald Heard and F. M. Alexander, urges him to get beyond the ego and practise meditation, self-healing, and pacifism; such analytic musings are incorporated via Beavis's diary entries and reflect Huxley's almost contemporaneous adoption of the Reverend Dick Sheppard's Peace Pledge Union and the Alexander Technique of posture training. Eyeless in Gaza, which ends with a stream-of-consciousness mystical perception of ‘the unity of life’, is indicative of the increasingly non-dramatic and prescriptive nature of Huxley's later works.

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