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Point Counter Point (1928)

by Aldous Huxley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,207194,978 (3.76)55
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» See also 55 mentions

English (15)  Spanish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
A novel, handled very competently by Huxley, This is a satiric and often funny novel of London society in the mid to late twenties. I could contrast this with the longer novel by Anthony Powell, “A dance to the music of time.” If you like the English in moments of disorder this is a good read. Finished Feb.19, 1971 ( )
  DinadansFriend | Nov 25, 2018 |
5 stars for the writing but I can't say it's an enjoyable read. Huxley dissects every personality until they appear gruesome and every philosophy as false comfort and there's not much left in the end. Grim but extraordinary. ( )
  ltfitch1 | Jun 5, 2016 |
A busca por uma nova ordem, as dificuldades de rompimento com o passado.

Considerado por muitos como a obra-prima de Huxley, Contraponto não tem uma estrutura literária convencional. O autor foi buscar na música clássica, especificamente na suite 2 de Bach, uma nova forma de posicionar o texto. E o resultado alcançado é impressionante: o texto flui como em uma música, com rompantes de raiva e paixão e às vezes calmo e relaxante ou depressivo e melancólico.

Não existe protagonista: diálogos complexos carregados de argumentos sucedem-se nos capítulos, apresentando personagens bem distintos, suas formas de pensar, seus objetivos e o que os faz continuar vivendo sãos (ou quase) em um mundo tão diverso. ( )
  Binderman | Aug 16, 2014 |
I cannot recall too much of this book. Even reading a summary, hasn't brought it back to me. It wasn't that long ago, so I'm assuming it wasn't memorable enough. I may have given it a "B" when I had first finished it, but, if I can't recall it now, I cannot be impressed with it. ( )
  JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
I have always been an avid reader, but throughout my teens and early in college I read indiscriminately--Louisa May Alcott and Stephen King, Alex Haley and Piers Anthony, they were all gobbled down. And then, in college, I was assigned Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point, and it changed the way I looked at books forever. For the first time in my life, I think, I really recognized that books could be about more than the plot, and that good writing could make you love a book even if you loathed all the characters.

I'm pretty sure I read Point Counter Point again soon after college, but at some point it disappeared from my library, and somewhere along the way every last bit of the book leaked out of my consciousness, because 25 years or so along, here I was reading the book again for the first time. Huxley uses the conversations and actions of a group of intellectuals, artists and writers, mostly, to explore passion and reason, the physical life vs. the intellectual life. Some of the characters are based on Huxley and his friends and acquaintances of the time, including D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield and John Middleton Murry. For me, the most brilliant part of the book is the opening quarter, which moves from person to person, primarily at a party, introducing the characters and themes. There is also an orchestra, playing Bach's Suite in B minor, for flute and strings.

"In the opening largo John Sebastian had, with the help of Pongileoni's snout and the air column, made a statement: There are grand things in the world, noble things; there are men born kingly; there are real conquerors, intrinsic lords of the earth. But of an earth that is, oh! complex and multitudinous, he had gone on to reflect in the fugal allegro. You seem to have found the truth; clear, definite, unmistakeable, it is announced by the violins; you have it, you triumphantly hold it. But it slips out of your grasp to present itself in a new aspect among the cellos and yet again in terms of Pongileoni's vibrating air column. The parts live their separate lives; they touch, their paths cross, they combine for a moment to create a seemingly final and perfected harmony, only to break apart again. Each is always alone and separate and individual. 'I am I,' asserts the violin; 'the world revolves round me.' 'Round me,' calls the cello. 'Round me,' the flute insists. And all are equally right and equally wrong; and none of them will listen to the others.

"In the human fugue there are eighteen hundred million parts. The resultant noise means something perhaps to the statistician, nothing to the artist. It is only by considering one or two parts at a time that the artist can understand anything. Here, for example, is one particular part; and John Sebastian puts the case. The Rondeau begins, exquisitely and simply melodious, almost a folk song. It is a young girl singing to herself of love, in solitude, tenderly mournful. A young girl singing among the hills, with the clouds drifting overhead. But solitary as one of the floating clouds, a poet had been listening to her song. The thoughts that it provoked in him are the Sarabande that follows the Rondeau. His is a slow and lovely meditation on the beauty (in spite of squalor and stupidity), the profound goodness (in spite of all the evil), the oneness (in spite of such bewildering diversity) of the world. It is a beauty, a goodness, a unity that no intellectual research can discover, that analysis dispels, but of whose reality the spirit is from time to time suddenly and overwhelmingly convinced. A girl singing to herself under the clouds suffices to create the certitude. Even a fine morning is enough. Is it illusion or the revelation of profoundest truth? Who knows?"

The structure and theme set with this passage, Huxley brings his characters forward, singly and in groups, combining and recombining to examine modern man, and the intellectual life vs. the instinctual life. The reader gets the occasional glimpse into the notebooks of Philip Quarles, an author and intellectual (whose natural tendency towards introversion was heightened by a childhood accident that lamed him), as he plans a novel constructed like a Beethoven composition: "The musicalization of fiction. Not in the symbolist way, by subordinating sense to sound. . . . But on a large scale, in the construction. Meditate on Beethoven. The changes of moods, the abrupt transitions. . . . More interesting still, the modulations, not merely from one key to another, but from mood to mood. A theme is stated, then developed, push out of shape, imperceptibly deformed, until, though still recognizably the same, it has become quite different. In sets of variations the process is carried a step further. . . . Put a novelist in the novel. He justifies aesthetic generalizations, which may be interesting--at least to me. He also justifies experiment. Specimens of his work may illustrate other possible or impossible ways of telling a story. And if you have him telling parts of the same story as you are, you can make a variation on the theme." He plans to use versions of his friends as characters. But, as he cautions, "The great defect of a novel of ideas is that it's a made-up affair. Necessarily; for people who can reel off neatly formulated notions aren't quite real; they're slightly monstrous. Living with monsters becomes rather tiresome in the long run."

While some of his characters are monstrous (particularly Maurice Spandrell, based on Baudelaire, who deliberately lives a life of debauchery and vice, and is consequently bored and unable to feel), and none are particularly likable, the book ends before they become tiresome.
5 vote cabegley | Jan 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huxley, AldousAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mosely, NicholasIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Oh, wearisome condition of humanity,
Born under one law, to another bound,
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity,
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
What meaneth nature by these diverse laws,
Passion and reason, self-division's cause?

Fulke Greville
First words
'You won't be late?'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

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