Point Counter Point

Point Counter Point

Aldous Huxley's lifelong concern with the dichotomy between passion and reason finds its fullest expression both thematically and formally in his masterpiece Point Counter Point. By presenting a vision of life in which diverse aspects of experience are observed simultaneously, Huxley characterizes the symptoms of "the disease of the modern man" in the manner of a composer-...

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Title:Point Counter Point
Author:Aldous Huxley
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Edition Language:English

Point Counter Point Reviews

  • Edi

    To this day, Aldous Huxley's "Point Counter Point" remains my favourite novel. The deepest corners of human nature -- that's where he goes, and that's where I haven't seen anyone else being able to.

    The novel doesn't have a front-to-back storyline, a precise plot, or a main character. It starts off with Walter Bidlake's "trials and tribulations", only to extend to the entire social network of the London elite of the 1930s.

    Huxley's versatility brings this writing to the status of "masterpiece", si

    To this day, Aldous Huxley's "Point Counter Point" remains my favourite novel. The deepest corners of human nature -- that's where he goes, and that's where I haven't seen anyone else being able to.

    The novel doesn't have a front-to-back storyline, a precise plot, or a main character. It starts off with Walter Bidlake's "trials and tribulations", only to extend to the entire social network of the London elite of the 1930s.

    Huxley's versatility brings this writing to the status of "masterpiece", since all characters are explored (or they explore themselves) in great depth, from the flourishing façade to the darkest memories and secrets. The incredibly beautiful and superficial woman, the rough military leader with a soft spot, the cynical and politically involved, the rich, the one who despises the rich but secretly envies them -- name it, and you've got it there. And then there's the way they all influence each other's lives. It gives you the feeling you're looking at a complicated chess game, only from inside the pieces. It's clockwork, but it's also got the spontaneity you expect to find in the 20 years between the World Wars, when the world was left without any solid values and everyone was just thinking about tomorrow.

  • Vit Babenco

    Counterpoint can't exist without a point. The opposites need each other.

    “The industrialists who purvey standardized ready-made amusements to the masses are doing their best to make you as much of a mechanical imbecile in your leisure as in your hours of work. But don’t let them. Make the effort of being human.”

    That's an exact description of the today pop culture.

    “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

    Some persons try to be a pa

    Counterpoint can't exist without a point. The opposites need each other.

    “The industrialists who purvey standardized ready-made amusements to the masses are doing their best to make you as much of a mechanical imbecile in your leisure as in your hours of work. But don’t let them. Make the effort of being human.”

    That's an exact description of the today pop culture.

    “I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.”

    Some persons try to be a part of the universal harmony and some want to become a counterpoint and some are just tone-deaf.

  • Sofía (Софья)

    En esta novela Huxley desarrolla varios personajes. No hay uno principal y otros secundarios, son todos iguales en su peso. Mírenlos de cerca: Philip es el intelecto, Walter Bidlake es la carne, lo corpóreo, Rampion es la naturaleza, lo auténtico, Spandrell es un "demonio". Son personajes planos, homogéneos. Cada uno parece un componente de algo grande, todos ellos son partes de ese personaje colectivo que nos presenta el autor - de la sociedad británica. Huxley los choca, los hace discutir, int

    En esta novela Huxley desarrolla varios personajes. No hay uno principal y otros secundarios, son todos iguales en su peso. Mírenlos de cerca: Philip es el intelecto, Walter Bidlake es la carne, lo corpóreo, Rampion es la naturaleza, lo auténtico, Spandrell es un "demonio". Son personajes planos, homogéneos. Cada uno parece un componente de algo grande, todos ellos son partes de ese personaje colectivo que nos presenta el autor - de la sociedad británica. Huxley los choca, los hace discutir, intercambiar opiniones, expresar ideas, tesis (de ahí viene el título "Point counter point").

    La novela fue publicada en el año 1928, tres años después del libro de Gide "Los monederos falsos". Huxley utiliza la misma herramienta que antes había empleado su colega - el metatexto, novela dentro de novela. PCP es el diario de Philip. Muy minuciosamente el describe el proceso de la creación, las causas, los métodos. Es una literatura egocéntrica, está enfocada en si misma, se interesa solo en si misma. Por que Huxley lo hace? Es una manera de revisar su trabajo, de verlo con otros ojos, de chequear las construcciones. Por esta razón la novela se lee muy fácil, no hay ningún "entre líneas", está todo explicado.

    Otro punto sobresaltante del libro es su lado satírico. Con frecuencia los escritores usan los prototipos para sus personajes pero por lo general los disimulan, Huxley lo hace abiertamente para que los lectores reconozcan a las personalidades de su novela, la tarea que no era difícil para un contemporario de los años 20 en Britania, obviamente tomando en cuenta que se trata de los integrantes del circulo literario-editorial. Yo voy a mencionar solamente dos nombres, los otros Uds los encontraran fácilmente en cualquier artículo sobre la novela. Bajo del nombre de Philip Quarles el autor se representa a si mismo y el personaje de Mark Rampion se basa en D. H. Lawrence, autor de "Sons and Lovers", a quien Huxley tenía mucho aprecio. Los que no tenían tanta suerte aparecieron en el relato tratados por el autor con toda ironía y hasta sarcasmo. Parece que burlarse de sus enemigos desde las páginas del libro era un evento común.

    La década de los 20 es el tiempo de muchos cambios en la literatura. Los escritores experimentan, emplean nuevas técnicas. La literatura no es un arte multidimensional, es lineal. Para empezar con otra escena el autor tiene que terminar con el episodio anterior. Rompen esta estructura utilizando texto fragmentado. Huxley trabaja con esta herramienta constantemente.

    "Mientras Jones asesina a su esposa, Smith empuja el cochecillo de niño en el parque." - aquí esta la clave. El texto fragmentado en este libro es la herramienta de la sátira.

    Otro detalle interesante. Huxley elimina las conexiones externas entre las escenas y hace trabajar sus relaciones internas. Cada escena es una idea, una tesis, la próxima escena seria la respuesta a esta tesis pero lo curioso es que las escenas tienen diferentes interpretaciones, entonces ¿cuál de todas sigue Huxley? :) Si tengo que esquematizar la estructura, quedaría así: Escena № 1 (la tesis № 1) -> Escena № 2 (respuesta a la tesis № 1). No puedo no hacer la comparación con Faulkner. El esquema de "Luz de agosto" sería así: Escena № 1 (cronológicamente № 28 por decirlo así) -> Escena № 5 (cronológicamente № 15). Escenas 2, 3 y 4 no existen en el libro, el lector tiene que escribirlas en su imaginación. Además, los fragmentos están mezclados en el tiempo. Por eso la lectura de Faulkner es más complicada y más excitante. Volviendo con Huxley, las ideas representadas en PCP están para analizarlas. Son verdaderamente pequeñas joyitas que uno quiere apreciar una y otra vez. Mi libro quedó todo subrayado y con mis comentarios pegados en los márgenes. Se puede tratarlas con los amigos (ó no amigos), yo ya lo hice y fue divertido.

    Concluyendo, PCP es una novela fascinante por su técnica y contenido intelectual. La recomiendo a todos.

  • James

    Bad people doing bad things, but in a very witty way. That is a brief, if incomplete, summary of Aldous Huxley's novel, Point Counter Point.

    It is more broadly a "novel of ideas" with a novelist of ideas, Philip Quarles, at its center. Quarles is a withdrawn, cerebral man, ill at ease with the everyday world and its emotions. He is surrounded by friends and family whose lives are like those of the monsters that Philip writes about in his journal. Just as Philip decides to structure his novel on t

    Bad people doing bad things, but in a very witty way. That is a brief, if incomplete, summary of Aldous Huxley's novel, Point Counter Point.

    It is more broadly a "novel of ideas" with a novelist of ideas, Philip Quarles, at its center. Quarles is a withdrawn, cerebral man, ill at ease with the everyday world and its emotions. He is surrounded by friends and family whose lives are like those of the monsters that Philip writes about in his journal. Just as Philip decides to structure his novel on the contrapuntal techniques of music (think Bach and Beethoven) the novel Huxley has written is structured in the same way. We are presented with an opening overture of more than one-hundred-fifty pages at a dinner party that serves as an introduction to most of the characters. The remainder of the novel intersperses scenes from their lives, letters from lovers and most interesting, the writings of Philip Quarles, who with his wife spends most of the first half of the novel returning from India and who is the closest to a protagonist that we get. While there is a bit of a literary explosion near the end, this is more a novel of the daily lives of London sophisticates in the 1920s. It catalogues their alternately sordid and ludicrous (sometimes both) erotic adventures, which generally end unhappily.

    I particularly enjoyed the wealth of references to literature and philosophy, Huxley's polymathic mind shows through on every page. Among the literary references was the use of Dickens in a way that captures one of his essential character traits, "the appearance of Dickensian young-girlishness" (p. 19). Overall, I found the play of wit and ideas compelling, enough to bear with the bad people and their antics.

  • Alan Wightman

    Point Counter Point is a tragicomedy about a group of London intellectuals and/or members of the leisured class in the 1920s. Despite cynical and fun-making elements, Huxley allows his characters to formulate a series of profound and serious ideas, amongst them being:

    (a) Why do people bother with worrying about liberty, democracy and politics, when they should just get on with living their lives

    (b) It is easier to live the life of the intellectual, to live in a world purely of ideas, than it is

    Point Counter Point is a tragicomedy about a group of London intellectuals and/or members of the leisured class in the 1920s. Despite cynical and fun-making elements, Huxley allows his characters to formulate a series of profound and serious ideas, amongst them being:

    (a) Why do people bother with worrying about liberty, democracy and politics, when they should just get on with living their lives

    (b) It is easier to live the life of the intellectual, to live in a world purely of ideas, than it is to succeed in the art of life – to be on good terms with your colleagues, friends, spouse and children.

    (c) Art is so much purer and more discriminating than life. In the sense that lurid accounts of orgies never discuss fatigue, boredom or hiccoughs

    (d) You cannot properly separate the mind from the rest of the body. Any attempt to live a super-pure existence by living entirely in the mental will result in one becoming simply less than human

    And so on.

    Huxley is so sharp, so clever and so observant that it is a pleasure to be in his company. Yet he is so cutting about the intellectual pursuits that one can’t but feel guilty that one has the leisure and self-indulgence to be reading such a clever book. One should be undertaking some arduous proletariat task, or at least interacting with one’s fellow man. Or possibly indulging in one of those orgies (although, says Huxley, wickedness becomes as routine and uninteresting as anything else after a while).

    So many little ideas, compared with Brave New World, which has one huge, overarching notion that there must be more to life than the simple pursuit of pleasure, or even happiness. But Point Counter Point seems much more natural, less clunky, than Brave New World’s 1932 attempt to be 24th century seems in 2008.

    In summary, Point Counter Point is really good

  • Ebru Çökmez

    Aldous Huxley’in “Ses Sese Karşı” başlıklı romanı, yazarın çok bilinen distopik eseri “Cesur Yeni Dünya" ve ondan biraz daha az bilinen ütopyası “Ada”dan çok farklı.

    Ses Sese Karşı, 1900’lü yılların başında çoğu İngiliz aristokrat sınıftan bir grup insanın kendileri, birbirleri, hayat, tanrı, ölüm ve toplum hakkındaki görüşlerini içeren bir roman. Pek az aksiyon, pek çok diyalog ve düşünceden oluşan 700 sayfalık kitap çok akıcı ve kolay bir okuma vadetmiyor. Roman kişilerinin teker teker serimin

    Aldous Huxley’in “Ses Sese Karşı” başlıklı romanı, yazarın çok bilinen distopik eseri “Cesur Yeni Dünya" ve ondan biraz daha az bilinen ütopyası “Ada”dan çok farklı.

    Ses Sese Karşı, 1900’lü yılların başında çoğu İngiliz aristokrat sınıftan bir grup insanın kendileri, birbirleri, hayat, tanrı, ölüm ve toplum hakkındaki görüşlerini içeren bir roman. Pek az aksiyon, pek çok diyalog ve düşünceden oluşan 700 sayfalık kitap çok akıcı ve kolay bir okuma vadetmiyor. Roman kişilerinin teker teker seriminin yapıldığı kitabın ilk yarısında, bu kurguda bir başkahraman olmadığını, yazarın öne çıkardığı 10 küsür karaktere de bilinçli olarak eşit mesafede durduğunu kavradıktan sonra ise eşsiz bir edebiyat şöleni ile başlıyor.

    Kitabın orijinal adı “Point Counter Point” adını bir müzik terimi olan “Counterpoint”ten almış. Eserin çevirmeni Mina Urgan, oldukça açıklayıcı olan önsözünde bu konuda şöyle demiş:

    “Counterpoint, bir ezgiye eşlik etmek üzere eklenen başka bir ezgi ya da ezgilerdir. Bir müzik parçasında çeşitli ezgiler kaynaştığı gibi; Ses Sese Karşı’da da birbirleriyle kaynaşan, çeşitli kişiler, çeşitli görüşler, çeşitli durumlar bulunur.”

    Kendisi de bir İngiliz seçkini olan Huxley, bu romanına yazarlar, ressamlar, yayıncılar, bilim adamları, sosyalistler, faşistler ekleyerek , onların seslerini yanyana koyarak, çarpıştırarak kendi çağını anlatmış. Bu açıdan bu roman çok sesli bir düşünce romanı. Huxley’in kendi sesi ise romanın en hüzünlü karakterlerinden biri olan Philip Quarles’in dilinden duyuluyor. Hayatının bir bölümünde kör olan Huxley, Quarles’i topal çizerek bir ipucu vermiş aslında.

  • Issicratea

    (1928) is the third Huxley novel I have read in close succession, following

    (1921) and

    (1936). It is far closer to

    than to

    in character: vast in scale, structurally complex, hugely ambitious in terms of the philosophical ideas it chooses to wrangle. Its great theme is (in the words of the epigraph, by Fulke Greville) the “wearisome condition of humanity,” as a wrenching cohabitation of “passion and reason, self-divisio

    (1928) is the third Huxley novel I have read in close succession, following

    (1921) and

    (1936). It is far closer to

    than to

    in character: vast in scale, structurally complex, hugely ambitious in terms of the philosophical ideas it chooses to wrangle. Its great theme is (in the words of the epigraph, by Fulke Greville) the “wearisome condition of humanity,” as a wrenching cohabitation of “passion and reason, self-division’s cause.”

    has a broader cast-list than

    , and is organized contrapuntally, as the title suggests, with a series of interconnected narrative threads, none especially privileged (although the novelist Philip Quarles, who seems an ironic self-portrait, can perhaps be seen as the work’s focalizer-in-chief). The presence of Quarles in the novel allows Huxley to spell out his artistic credo, though he does so with a breezy self-deprecation that seems to me characteristic. I like this astute twinned self-justification and self-critique, for example:

    The specimens of the ideas-ridden .01% of the human race with whom Huxley presents us in this novel are often highly entertaining. I liked the eccentric amateur scientist Lord Edward Tantamount and his bitter, radical, working-class assistant, Frank Illidge; the hypocritical, sex-obsessed Christian mystic and literary magazine editor, Denis Burlap, with his seductive “Sodoma smile”; mercurial, amoral flapper Lucy Tantamount; and Mussoliniesque

    Everard Webley, hot pursuer of Philip’s semi-neglected wife Elinor.

    Some of these characters are patently portraits of Huxley’s contemporaries, in way that must have increased the spice of the book for its earliest readers. Mark Rampion, fiery spokesman for nature and instinct over reason, is easy to spot as Huxley’s close friend D. H. Lawrence, and I was interested to read online that the man-eating Lucy was based on Nancy Cunard, with whom Huxley had an affair. I also liked the sketch of the sensual, cynical, lionized elderly ego-monster of an artist, John Bidlake, supposedly based on Augustus John.

    Huxley’s characters are distinctly of their volatile historical moment—that’s part of the novel’s fascination—and yet the ideas and life philosophies and political theories they spin for themselves are not lacking in relevance for our own times. Huxley’s insights into the ways in which people’s thinking is shaped by their circumstances and history and their physical selves and their relation to their bodies—sex is very central in the novel—are also at times very astute.

    is a dark and unforgiving satire, with little by way of personal or social redemption in view at the end, unlike

    That doesn't make it a depressing read, though—far from it. With its densely interwoven, tragicomic plotlines, its rich gamut of characters, its fizzing dialogue, it reads rather like a very, very, very upmarket soap opera. It's not hard to see why it was a

    in its day.

  • Krishnaroop Chakrabarty

    Huxley is quite the literary enigma. He is the progenitor of a style of expression that is thoroughly unique and exhaustive in its presentation of the matter at hand and this itself prevents any form of imitation by other lesser competent literary mortals. Yet the only deterrent to Huxley is perhaps Huxley himself. Over indulgence is undeniably his most persistent arch nemesis and it befuddles the authors best efforts in quite a lot of his creations and is well demonstrated here in PCP. The noti

    Huxley is quite the literary enigma. He is the progenitor of a style of expression that is thoroughly unique and exhaustive in its presentation of the matter at hand and this itself prevents any form of imitation by other lesser competent literary mortals. Yet the only deterrent to Huxley is perhaps Huxley himself. Over indulgence is undeniably his most persistent arch nemesis and it befuddles the authors best efforts in quite a lot of his creations and is well demonstrated here in PCP. The notion is arguable indeed but one cannot quite construct a 400+ novel merely out of a compulsion to isolate and vivisect certain episodic and grudgingly personal philosophies. A short story would have sufficed for this yet Huxley pompously persuades you with a brilliantly structured opening sequence and then abandons you in a confounding melodrama of rambling psychologies and distasteful diversions. This was not expected of the same author whose keenness of perception edited his philosophic and metaphysical outings with such unrelenting effectiveness in the laudable Brave New World and the morbid Ape and Essence. Social criticism is thus an aphrodisiac which Huxley cannot quite forego and yet he is seduced into excesses such as PCP and the drab Those Barren Leaves from which he just cannot liberate himself. No doubt, I am still in awe of the manner in which Huxley struggles passionately against his Achilles Heel and describes the music of Bach, how he deconstructs Romanticisim through Rampion, how he he enamors with an unflinchingly accurate portrayal of dissipating love...and yet I just couldnt proceed beyond page 201. A case of Huxley being slayed by his own ambitions.

  • Andrew

    A phrase like "novel of ideas" sounds so ponderous and leaden-- you'll not find many who liked The Magic Mountain as much as I did, but I'll readily admit it was tough going-- but Huxley proves that a novel of ideas can be on the contrary, witty, playful, and as bitchy as a gin-sodden Truman Capote. Nearly every page has a line that's a total keeper:

    A phrase like "novel of ideas" sounds so ponderous and leaden-- you'll not find many who liked The Magic Mountain as much as I did, but I'll readily admit it was tough going-- but Huxley proves that a novel of ideas can be on the contrary, witty, playful, and as bitchy as a gin-sodden Truman Capote. Nearly every page has a line that's a total keeper:

    You got me, Aldous, you got me.

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