Edinburgh Research Explorer

That learning were such a filthy thing: Literacy, education and social control in Huxley’s Brave New World

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBrave New World
Subtitle of host publicationContexts and Legacies
EditorsJonathan Greenberg, Nathan Waddell
Pages51 - 68
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781137445414
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2016


This chapter inquires into Huxley’s use of educational discourse in Brave New World. It draws for that on Huxley’s criticism of formal education, mass literacy and social homogenisation at the beginning of the twentieth century. The superstructure of the elaborate state education machinery in Brave New World, which consists of a mixture of conditioning, drugs and entertainment, sustains the authority of the world controllers and preserves the existing social order in the familiar manner of dystopian discourse. Yet Huxley’s pedagogical discourse in this novel also presents the acquisition of language and literacy as dangerous for the individual, for which Huxley borrowed heavily from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It concludes with an outlook on Huxley’s further thoughts on education beyond Brave New World.

    Research areas

  • education, utopia, huxley

ID: 21683330