Brave New World

Influences and Allegations of Plagiarism

The English writer Rose Macaulay published What Not: A Prophetic Comedy in 1918. What Not depicts a dystopian future where people are ranked by intelligence, the government mandates mind training for all citizens, and procreation is regulated by the state.[42] Macaulay and Huxley shared the same literary circles and he attended her weekly literary salons.

George Orwell believed that Brave New World must have been partly derived from the 1921 novel We by Russian author Yevgeny Zamyatin.[43] However, in a 1962 letter to Christopher Collins, Huxley says that he wrote Brave New World long before he had heard of We.[44] According to We translator Natasha Randall, Orwell believed that Huxley was lying.[45] Kurt Vonnegut said that in writing Player Piano (1952), he "cheerfully ripped off the plot of Brave New World, whose plot had been cheerfully ripped off from Yevgeny Zamyatin's We".[46]

In 1982, Polish author Antoni Smuszkiewicz, in his analysis of Polish science-fiction Zaczarowana gra ("The Magic Game"), presented accusations of plagiarism against Huxley. Smuszkiewicz showed similarities between Brave New World and two science fiction novels written earlier by Polish author Mieczysław Smolarski, namely Miasto światłości ("The City of Light", 1924) and Podróż poślubna pana Hamiltona ("Mr Hamilton's Honeymoon Trip", 1928).[47] Smolarski wrote in his open letter to Huxley: "This work of a great author, both in the general depiction of the world as well as countless details, is so similar to two of my novels that in my opinion there is no possibility of accidental analogy."[48]

Kate Lohnes, writing for Encyclopædia Britannica, notes the similarities between Brave New World, The Magic Game and other novels of the era could be seen as "common fears surrounding the rapid advancement of technology and of the shared feelings of many tech-skeptics during the early 20th century".[49] Other dystopian novels followed Huxley's work, including Orwell’s own, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).


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