This chapter offers a brief profile of the Huxley family at the close of the nineteenth century, and then traces the formative experiences of Julian and Aldous Huxley from the late Victorian period to the 1930s. Raised to be intensely aware of their family’s intellectual and cultural inheritance, both brothers strived to adapt the Victorian ideals of such forbears as T. H. Huxley and Matthew Arnold to the rapidly changing cultural and political landscape of the twentieth century. While Julian Huxley’s adamant faith in progress echoed the earlier confidence of T. H. Huxley, Aldous Huxley’s concerns about the cultural drift of industrial civilization recalled the concerns of Matthew Arnold. In the aftermath of WWI, each brother raised alarms about the ecological impact of reckless industrialization and population growth decades before the advent of the environmental movement.
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