Crome Yellow Characters

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

First published: 1921

Type of work: Novel

Type of plot: Social satire

Time of work: The 1920’s

Locale: England

Characters DiscussedHenry Wimbush

Henry Crome YellowWimbush, the owner of Crome, a country house in England. He is the host for the house party that brings together the unusual group of people who are characters in the novel. Wimbush is so interested in Crome that he has been writing its history for thirty years. He frequently calls his guests together to read to them choice portions of his account.

Denis Stone

Denis Stone, a young poet, almost a symbol in the novel for artistic ineffectuality, who loves Anne Wimbush, old Henry’s niece. Stone is disturbed by the other guests at the party, particularly by Scogan, a very rational man. Stone’s suit is never realized, though Anne has decided she will accept him if he proposes. The indecisive Stone makes one decision in the novel: He arranges to have sent a fake telegram recalling him to London. Ironically, his one decisive action separates him from Anne.

Anne Wimbush

Anne Wimbush, a young woman, four years Stone’s senior, who looks on his suit for her affection first with scorn, finally with sympathy. She, unlike Stone, thinks life should be accepted as it unfolds; Stone attempts to carry personally all the troubles of the world on his shoulders.

Mr. Scogan

Mr. Scogan, Stone’s opposite. Scogan is rational to the degree that Stone is sentimental. Scogan’s cold-blooded intelligence annoys Stone.

Mrs. Priscilla Wimbush

Mrs. Priscilla Wimbush, a rather scatterbrained woman, Henry’s wife, who studies the stars. She is enthusiastic because she has picked a winner at a horse race with information she divined from the movements of the celestial bodies.

Gombauld

Gombauld, an artist who is invited to Crome to paint Anne’s picture. He expresses his love for Anne and is repulsed.

Jenny Mullion

Jenny Mullion, a young deaf woman who makes up for her lack of hearing by observing very accurately the people at the party. She draws sketches of them in a book she carries, and she writes her impressions of life primarily for her own amusement.

Mary Bracegirdle

Mary Bracegirdle, a woman remembered for her repressions and Freudian dreams. She is anxious most of the time and given to discussing her psychological ills with anyone who will listen. She decides first to pursue Stone and then Gombauld and manages to talk with each man at the wrong time, when he is occupied with other interests. She does attract a painter of ghosts and spirits, Ivor Lombard, but after visiting her once, Lombard leaves Crome and sends her only a postcard with a terse message. She becomes convinced her life is a ruin.

BibliographyBaker, Robert S. The Dark Historic Page: Social Satire and Historicism in the Novels of Aldous Huxley, 1921-1939. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1982. Invaluable work, especially the chapter entitled “Crome Yellow and the Problem of History.”Bedford, Sybille. Aldous Huxley: A Biography. 1st ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974. First-rate, extensive biography.Birnbaum, Milton. Aldous Huxley’s Quest for Values. 1st ed. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1971. Deals with Huxley’s novels by theme rather than by chronology, but the index references to Crome Yellow are worth looking up. Birnbaum, a college student in the 1920’s, writes in his preface, “In debunking the traditional sources of value he was, in a sense, acting as our surrogate.”Bowering, Peter. Aldous Huxley: A Study of the Major Novels. New York: Oxford University Press, 1969. Notes the counterpull, beneath the benign skepticism of its surface, of an underlying gravity in Crome Yellow.Firchow, Peter. Aldous Huxley: Satirist and Novelist. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1972. Sound insights into Huxley’s procedure in Crome Yellow.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.Watt, Donald, ed. Aldous Huxley: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1975. Fascinating compendium of reviews, articles, and letters, arranged chronologically. F. Scott Fitzgerald, at that time the author of one published novel, said in his review of Crome Yellow, “Huxley . . . is said to know more about French, German, Latin, and medieval Italian literature than any man alive. I refuse to make the fatuous remark that he should know less about books and more about people.” Watt’s introduction provides further insights into Crome Yellow.
Categories: Characters