Crome Yellow by Aldous Huxley Review by Dominykas G. Jankauskas Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963) was a famous English poet, novelist, essayist and playwright. He is best known for his dystopian novel Brave New World (1932) in which he writes prophetically about the future of humanity. Many critics and readers consider his novel as a masterpiece of English literature and thinks that most of the predictions have already come true. A. Huxley was a humanist, pacifist and satirist. Latterly he was interested in parapsychology and philosophical mysticism.
His debut novel Crome Yellow, which was first published in 1921, is a satirical country house novel. In terms of plot – nothing exciting happens; the storyline is rather plateau. The characters (like in a typical country house novel) sit around all day in a big mansion in the countryside of England, eat, drink, and discuss about life, love, history, art, literature and philosophy. The protagonist – Denis Stone, a young poet, mostly from whose point of view the story is told, comes to spend his summer holidays at his friend’s countryside’s mansion in England, where other artists and aristocrats have gathered.
Though not to make the story boring, A. Huxley skilfully inserts various short stories that makes the story a bit more varied. An example could be the historical tale of a dwarfish aristocrat, who was one of the Crome mansion owners in the 17th century, having to commit suicide as he could not cope with the taunting of his normal height son. In my opinion, the author’s aim in the novel is to satire the upper-class of English society of the time, it’s old-fashioned morals and thoughts on art, literature, philosophy. However A.
Huxley does not just criticise, he gives predictions on the future of man kind. For example: Mr. Winbush sees the future as machines will do all the work and people will have plenty of time for leisure. Or Mr. Sogan in one of the conversations with Denis predicts that the population will be controlled by growing people in incubators. The latter thought is extended by A. Huxley in this novel Brave New World (1932). I found that A. Huxley in Crome Yellow uses the style of characterizing his characters as types of people of the society. A.
Huxley created a different type for each of his character: Denis Stone is a young sensitive poet (in my opinion – Huxley’s alter ego), Mr. Sogan – a philosopher, who always wants to discuss about the meanings of life, Mr. Winbush – a serious pseudo intellectual, Ivor – a charming but ‘ empty’ young lad, which can have any woman in the world, Mr. Barbecue-Smith – a pseudo spiritual author. The women (Jenny, Mary, Anna) in the novel are portrayed rather similarly; they are shown as rich ladies who have no real occupation, but they do participate sometimes rather intensively in a discussion.
The book itself was not difficult to read, but not at all an easy read, because most of the conversations, discussions require a little bit more concentration from the reader to follow the development of an idea. For me it was an interesting, amusing read due to the satirical, comical representation of the upper class and it’s interesting and academical conversations and discussions. I recommend reading this book for Huxley fans who have read just Brave New World, because Crome Yellow is like a prelude into his later works, and for people who have not read anything of his, it would be a good beginning into Huxley’s world.