The Olive Tree by Aldous Huxley


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Chatto & Windus, 1938. First edition. 

'This is one of the best collections of essays that Mr. Huxley has ever made. The title-piece is a completely new departure in technique from anything he has written before: a meditation, darting from topic to topic, on the olive tree, and the associations which it has for the author. His now famous Introduction to the letters of D.H. Lawrence is included; there is an essay entitled ‘Justifications’ which gives comic instances of the rationalisation of irrational impulses, and analyses the mechanism of justification; there is an essay on Thomas Henry Huxley as a literary man—and as anyone who has read the Diary of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake can testify, the great scientist's charm and craftsmanship were both considerable—a long essay which considers the influence of books and propaganda; an essay on ‘English Snobbery’, ‘Time and the Machine’ and other diverse subjects, all of which are treated with the wit and the learning to which Mr. Huxley has made us accustomed.'