Haec Fabula Docet: Anti-Essentialism and Freedom in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World1

Philosophy and Literature 35 (2):348-359 (2012)
When Huxley quotes the famous Jefferson line in Brave New World Revisited—"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be"2—there is something, on the face, humorously explicit to it. The state of civilization the brave new world is in seems to speak directly to this point. Brave new worlders are ignorant and conspicuously not free; they "[like] what [they've] got to do"3 because they have been decanted and conditioned by the corporate government, the World State (an ironical reversal of government by the people to a people by the government). This cursory assessment, however, obscures another possibility, one that touches on the satirical poignancy and relevance of ..
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