Crome Yellow was written during the summer of 1921 in the Tuscan seaside resort of Forte dei Marmi and published in November of that year. In view of its episodic nature, the novel was described in The Spectator as "a Cubist Peacock". This was in recognition of the fact that it was modelled on (and publicised as in the tradition of) Thomas Love Peacock’s country-house novels. There diverse types of the period are exhibited interacting with each other and holding forth on their personal intellectual conceits. There is little plot development. Indeed, H. L. Mencken questioned whether its comedy of manners could be called a novel at all but hailed with delight the author's "shrewdness, ingenuity, sophistication, impudence, waggishness and contumacy."
At the same time F. Scott Fitzgerald observed how within the novel's ambiguous form Huxley created structures and then demolished them "with something too ironic to be called satire and too scornful to be called irony." In addition, the open treatment of sexuality there appeared significant to Henry Seidel. Although "Nothing important happens…the story floats and sails upon the turbid intensity of restless sex."