Traveling to Modernism's Other Worlds

Huxley's Brave New World and Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four

in Journeys

This article discusses two popular late modernist works, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. It argues that the formal and thematic complexity of both works has been overlooked because of an understandable, but ultimately rather myopic fixation on their gripping ideas and frightening political messages, and puts them back in the context of modernism, seeing them as part of a body of late modernist works engaged in questions of travel and transnational encounter. The article situates Huxley and Orwell's novels in the socio-cultural context of the 1930s and 1940s, figuring the dystopian impulse as a reaction to a time of global upheaval and uncertainty. By understanding these novels as examples of travel fiction, we become more attuned to the kinds of complex ethical questions they ask regarding how to view both other worlds and other people.

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Journeys

The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing