Wednesday 7 October 2015

O Brave New World, That Has Such Minor Irritations In It

I saw a play based on Huxley's Brave New World tonight, and it was a pretty good effort, even if the novel is clearly tricky adapt to the stage. It did, however, remind me of one of my least favourite tropes.

It happens with dispiriting frequency when you have a fictional future society, cut off from the modern world, and with a vastly different set of cultural values. Someone in this future finds A Book (usually Shakespeare, but any other western canonical author will do) and - despite the aforementioned vastly different set of cultural values - they are enormously moved by it. They usually understand it *identically* to the way that 20th and 21st century readers would understand it. Often, the Timeless Truth and Beauty will disturb and shock the complacent masses of this future society, who see their shallowness reflected in its depth.