Places: Brave New World

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1932

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Dystopian

Time of work: 632 years After Ford

Asterisk denotes entries on real places.

Places Discussed*Great Britain

*Great Brave New WorldBritain. In Huxley’s dystopian future, the British Isles are part of Western Europe, one of ten administrative divisions of the world supervised by resident controllers.

Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre

Central London Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. Place where new citizens of London, the one-time capital of Britain, are produced. It has four thousand rooms. Life begins in the Fertilizing Room, after which cloned embryos are implanted in artificial wombs in the Bottling Room. Treatments administered in the Social Predestination Room determine the future status of the individuals delivered in the Decanting Room. The building’s upper floors contain the Infant Nurseries and Neo-Pavlovian Conditioning Rooms. The center includes pleasant gardens, where children are allowed to play, but their games are carefully designed to supplement their careful education. The hatchery is the core of Huxley’s sarcastic extrapolation of the principles of American automobile pioneer Henry Ford’s assembly-line production system and Frederick Winslow Taylor’s theories of applying scientific management to the organization of entire societies.

*Fleet Street

*Fleet Street. Real London street on which most British national newspapers were produced at the time Huxley wrote Brave New World. In the year A.F. (“after Ford”) 632 (the twenty-seventh century by regular calendars), the street is dominated by a sixty-six-story building whose lower floors accommodate the Bureau of Propaganda–encompassing Television, Feeling Pictures, and Synthetic Voice and Music as well as the three remaining newspapers–while the eighteen uppermost floors house the College of Emotional Engineering.

*Westminster Abbey

*Westminster Abbey. One of the two most famous churches in London in the twentieth century, the abbey is situated close to the Houses of Parliament, near the River Thames. In A.F. 632 it has become a cabaret serving a vast apartment complex. The site of the other famous London church, St. Paul’s Cathedral–at the top of Ludgate Hill–is occupied in A.F. 632 by the huge Fordson Community Singery, whose seven thousand rooms are used by Solidarity Groups for fortnightly services.

New Mexico Savage Reservation

New Mexico Savage Reservation. Fictional Indian reservation west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, encompassing the Malpais Valley. It is one of several set aside for the use of people–including Native Americans–who remain stubbornly dedicated to squalid, inefficient, and chaotic ways of life that have been rendered obsolete by Fordism. Its 560,000 square kilometers are divided into four sub-reservations, each surrounded by an electrified fence.

*Eton

*Eton. Real village north of Windsor in England’s Berkshire region, the site of what is probably England’s most famous preparatory school. The school still exists in A.F. 632; it, the School Community Singery, and the fifty-two-story Lupton’s Tower form three sides of a quadrangle in whose center stands a chrome-steel statue of Our Ford.

Park Lane Hospital for the Dying

Park Lane Hospital for the Dying. Sixty-story building externally decorated with primrose-colored tiles, overlooking Hyde Park. Visits to such institutions are a routine part of the existential process, so that children may become accustomed to the idea of death–against which patients are not encouraged to put up undignified struggles.

*Cyprus

*Cyprus. Large eastern Mediterranean island. In the novel, it is mentioned as the site of an experiment undertaken in the year A.F. 473, when twenty-two thousand Alphas were allowed to create a society of their own, unsupported by the ranks of mentally inferior Betas, Gammas, Deltas, and Epsilons, who were eight-ninths of the population in Fordist society. When nineteen thousand Alphas died in civil wars caused by their reluctance to do the menial work needed to maintain their society, the survivors petitioned the World Controllers to resume their government over the island.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse. Ferroconcrete edifice intended for the guidance of air traffic, erected on a hill between the towns of Puttenham and Elstead in the English county of Surrey, south of the Hog’s Back ridge. In this improvised “hermitage” John the Savage tries, unsuccessfully, to isolate himself from the England of A.F. 632.

BibliographyBowering, Peter. Aldous Huxley: A Study of the Major Novels. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969. Devotes a chapter to Brave New World, concentrating particularly on its themes of technological slavery and the limits of freedom. Includes substantial character analysis.Firchow, Peter. Aldous Huxley: Satirist and Novelist. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972. Devotes most of chapter 5 to discussion of Brave New World as a dystopian novel. Considers it as a satirical parable modeled on the Grand Inquisitor episode in The Brothers Karamazov.Meckier, Jerome. “Debunking Our Ford: My Life and Work and Brave New World.” South Atlantic Quarterly 78, no. 2 (Autumn, 1979): 448-459. Examines the relationship between Henry Ford’s autobiography and Huxley’s dystopia. Huxley was alarmed by the parts of the American ethos that he thought Ford represented.Murray, Nicholas. Aldous Huxley: A Biography. New York: St. Martin’s, 2003. Murray’s 500-plus page biography and intellectual history is a wide-ranging survey of Huxley’s writing and his social, personal, and political life. The book stretches from Huxley’s early satirical writing to his peace activism, from his close relations and friendships with Hollywood filmmakers and other intellectuals, to his fascination with spirituality and mysticism. Illustrations, bibliography, and index.Nance, Guinevera. Aldous Huxley. New York: Continuum, 1988. Chapter 3 offers a critical summary and evaluation of the novel. Considers its themes and gives particular attention to the moral implications of the Savage.Watts, Harold H. Aldous Huxley. Boston: Twayne, 1969. One chapter discusses the novel as dystopian fiction, examines its themes, structures, and characterizations, and considers its artistic value. A good general introduction to the novel.
Categories: Places