Huxley was born in the United Kingdom, being a son of the writer Leonard Huxley by his first wife, Julia Arnold; and grandson of Thomas Huxley. Julia died in 1908, when Aldous was only thirteen. Three years later, he suffered an illness which seriously damaged his eyesight. His near-blindness disqualified him from service in World War I.
Aldous Huxley completed his first (unpublished) novel at the age of seventeen, and began writing seriously in his early twenties. He wrote great novels on dehumanising aspects of scientific progress (e.g. Brave New World), and on pacifist themes (e.g. Eyeless in Gaza). Huxley was strongly influenced by F. Matthias Alexander and included him as a character in Eyeless in Gaza.
During the war, he spent much of his time at Garsington Manor, home of Lady Ottoline Morrell. Later, in Crome Yellow (1921) he caricatured the Garsington lifestyle, but remained friendly with the Morrells. He married Maria Nys, whom he had met at Garsington.
Huxley moved to California in 1937. He became a Hindu in the circle of Swami Prabhavananda, and he also introduced Christopher Isherwood to this circle. He started meditating and he became a vegetarian. Thereafter, his works were strongly influenced by mysticism and the hallucinogenic drug mescalin.
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