Aldous Huxley and Alternative Spirituality


Aldous Huxley and Alternative Spirituality offers an incisive analysis of the full range of Huxley’s spiritual interests, spanning both mysticism (neo-Vedanta, Taoism, Mahayana and Zen Buddhism) and Western esotericism (mesmerism, spiritualism, the paranormal). Jake Poller examines how Huxley’s shifting spiritual convictions influenced his fiction, such as his depiction of the body and sex, and reveals how Huxley’s use of psychedelic substances affected his spiritual convictions, resulting in a Tantric turn in his work. Poller demonstrates how Huxley’s vision of a new alternative spirituality in Island, in which the Palanese select their beliefs from different religious traditions, anticipates the New Age spiritual supermarket and traces the profound influence of Huxley’s ideas on the spiritual seekers of the twentieth century and beyond.

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Jake Poller, Ph.D. (2010), Queen Mary University of London, is the editor of Altered Consciousness in the Twentieth Century (Routledge, 2019). His chapters and articles have appeared in The Occult Imagination in Britain (Routledge, 2018), Aries and Aldous Huxley Annual.
1Aldous Huxley (1894–1963)
2Science, Alternative Spirituality and Psychical Research
 Idealism, the New Physics and Perspectivism
 D.H. Lawrence (1885–1930), William Blake (1757–1827) and Life Worship
 H.G. Wells (1866–1946), the World State and Brave New World
 Science and Psychical Research
3The Perennial Philosophy
 The Ancient Wisdom Tradition: From the Prisca Theologia to Traditionalism
 Neo-Vedanta: The Brahmo Samaj, Sri Ramakrishna (1836–1886) and Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902)
 Varieties of Perennialism: William James (1842–1910), Rudolf Otto (1869–1937), W.T. Stace (1886–1967)
 Steven Katz, Contextualism and Its Critics
4Mysticism and Pacifism
 Henry Fitzgerald Heard (1889–1971)
 Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986)
5Sex and Alternative Spirituality
 The Romantic Phase: From Denis Stone to Brian Foxe
 The Ascetic Phase: Eyeless in GazatoTime Must Have a Stop
 The Tantric Phase: Island
6Huxley’s Legacy
 Human Potentialities
 Psychedelic Drugs and Spiritual Experience
 Huxley’s Influence on the New Age and Deep Ecology Movements
Scholars, undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in the work of Aldous Huxley, and in particular the ways in which Huxley’s ideas shaped the alternative spirituality of the twentieth century.
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