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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Point Counter Point

Point Counter Point, published in 1928, was Aldous Huxley's fourth novel. It is highly regarded: the Modern Library lists it in the top 100 novels of the 20th century.[1]
Consistent with Huxley's other novels, Point Counter Point has no overarching plot. Instead, the story is an intricate set of sub-plots revolving around several key characters each with a set of sub characters. Each character represents some aspect of life or is a stereotype of some sort from a rather vapid group in the twenties. The various character paths cross in varying circumstances. Much of the novel consists of deeply penetrating personality sketches and long intellectual conversations. When actions are described, Huxley analyzes every motive and internal emotion in detail, sometimes even jumping into a character's past to provide context. His characters decry the dangers of sacrificing humanity for intellectualism, and express concern about the staggering progress of science and technology. There are perhaps two main issues - the first is class and the reactions of people as the barriers break down. The second is sex where various possibilities and relationships are described. Philosophically, the entire book plays on the dichotomy between reason and passion. Huxley's "champion" of philosophical balance is the fictional character, Rampion, who was coincidentally inspired in Huxley by his encounters with D.H. Lawrence.

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