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Crome Yellow (1921)

by Aldous Huxley

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2,013468,213 (3.31)1 / 105
Though Aldous Huxley would later become known as one of the key early figures in the genre of dystopian science fiction, his first novels were gentler satires that played on the manor house genre. Crome Yellow tells of the goings-on at a house called Crome, an artists' colony of sorts where thinkers and writers gather to work, debate, and sometimes, to fall in love.… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Beautiful writing but not very interesting characters or events. ( )
  AerialObrien | Mar 5, 2024 |
I went into this book expecting for it to either a bore or a completely captivating story, but it was neither. I definitely was not expecting to become as sad as I did when the book ended, even right up to the last page I was not expecting to be so saddened. For that reason and many others I believe this has to be one of the best books of such length I have ever read. ( )
  Pradoll | Feb 4, 2024 |
I was in my 20's when i last read this, somewhere between 25 and 30 years ago, and i still think it's a very good book.

There is, however, a problem with this book: Aldous was very clearly a product of Victorian England and his use of words really reflect this, especially in his early writing, and there are the very occasional racial words/comments used -- which i counted twice.

It's a very awkward place to find oneself, caught between two cultures.   By my standards the use of such language is completely unacceptable, yet, having read a few Victorian books and also post Victorian books, like this, written by those who were educated by Victorians, it is clear that the use of such language was, very much, the standard of the day.

Do we now throw the babies out with the bath water?   Admittedly, by contemporary standards, the bathwater we are dealing with is now considered untreated sewage, but in it's day it was considered fit for drinking.   I certainly don't feel that Aldous was, in anyway, being racist and derogatory, but simply using the words and cliches of his day.

As to the rest of the book it is very clearly a satire and critique of England in the early 1920's and it's very clear that Aldous was not supporting of many views expressed in this book, but laying bare the thinking and ideas of his day.   If you are interested you can read much more about this on it's Wiki page.

The interesting thing for me is that just over 5 years ago i spent 3 years living at one of England's great houses and its huge estate, including parklands, shrubberies, woods, Italian gardens, ponds, lakes, etc., and it certainly made reading about Crome a whole different experience.   Sadly, to be honest, the upper classes, and their sycophants, haven't really changed much from the attitudes and behaviour satirised and parodied within Crome Yellow.

This book is also, very much, the forerunner to Brave New World, and i would suggest a must read for fans of that book. ( )
  5t4n5 | Aug 9, 2023 |
Chrome Yellow by Aldous Huxley was his debut novel and was originally published in 1921. Although a social satire of it’s time, I am afraid that this book hasn’t held up well as it seemed exceedingly dated to me. Unfortunately my take away from the book was that it was quite dull and largely pointless.

The story follows Denis Stone, a young aspiring writer, as he goes to stay at a country house called Crome. Denis appears to be suffering from a case of puppy love, but the object of his desire seems to find him too young and is amused by his attentions. The other guests are a varied group of eccentrics and are apparently thinly disguised portraits of Huxley’s acquaintances in real life. Other than some historical lectures and a few religious sermons not a lot happens. I was crying out for a murder and a visit from Hercule Poirot to liven things up!

As I mention above, Crome Yellow is the author’s debut novel and seemed to me a loosely disguised critique of various cardboard characters and their ability to pontificate about life, culture, philosophy, etc. without really saying very much at all. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Apr 26, 2023 |
Huxley summarizes the typical first novel of a young aesthete in chapter three: “Little Percy . . . was never good at games, but he was always clever.” After university, “he is bowed down with melancholy thought” and “writes a novel of dazzling brilliance.”
Bingo. The sharp-nosed rationalist, Mr. Scogan, has described the plot of the book the protagonist, Denis Stone, has in mind. Stone is Huxley’s alter ego in this slim, satirical first novel. Huxley’s plot is a notch above Stone’s: a languorous summer at an estate in the English countryside as a variant on the old “ship of fools” setting that gives the author opportunity to throw together various “types,” which he skewers as pointedly as one of the characters, Anne, does in her red sketchbook.
Yet the portraits Huxley draws are not, for the most part, malicious. There is some degree of sympathy for the host, Henry Wimbush, who would have enjoyed the annual party he throws on his estate if it had only happened three hundred years previously and he were reading about it. There’s even a small degree of tenderness in the depiction of the feckless young Denis.
Nothing redeems the successful inspirational author, Mr. Barbecue-Smith, however. One feels that Huxley, in addition to whispering to himself, “don’t be Denis” is also admonishing himself: throw away your pen if you have to; under no circumstances become Barbecue-Smith! Nor is there anything redeemable in Mr. Scogan, whose twentieth-century update of Plato’s Republic (delineated in chapter twenty-two) would serve Huxley later as his blueprint for Brave New World.
The book is peppered with words I ought to look up, and would if it weren't so hot. And I enjoyed the poems in various styles (but all bad) that Huxley creates as the work of two or three of the characters. All in all, an enjoyable summertime read. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Aldous Huxley’s Chrome Yellow, if it be called a novel, violates all of the rules and regulations that I have just laid down so smugly. But why call it a novel? I can see absolutely no reason for doing so, save that the publisher falls into the error in his slipover, press-matter and canned review. As a matter of fact, the book is simply an elaborate piece of spoofing, without form and without direction... It is a piece of buffoonery that sweeps the whole range from the most delicate and suggestive tickling to the most violent thumping of the ribs. It has made me laugh as I have not laughed since I read the Inaugural Harangue of Dr. Harding...

Aldous is obviously less learned than his eminent grandpa. I doubt that he is privy to the morphology of Astacus fluviatilis or that he knows anything more about the Pleistocene or the Middle Devonian than is common gossip among Oxford barmaids. But though he thus shows a falling off in positive knowledge, he is far ahead of the Ur-Huxley in worldly wisdom, and it is his worldly wisdom which produces the charm of Chrome Yellow. Here, in brief, is a civilized man’s reductio ad absurdum of his age— his contemptuous kicking of its pantaloons.

added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Smart Set, H. L. Mencken

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Huxley, Aldousprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bradbury, MalcolmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bradshaw, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huxley, MatthewPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lempicka, Tamara deCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rosoman, LeonardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Along this particular stretch of line no express had ever passed.
Human contacts have been so highly valued in the past only because reading was not a common accomplishment.... The world, you must remember, is only just becoming literate. As reading becomes more and more habitual and widespread, an ever-increasing number of people will discover that books will give them all the pleasures of social life and none of its intolerable tedium.
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Though Aldous Huxley would later become known as one of the key early figures in the genre of dystopian science fiction, his first novels were gentler satires that played on the manor house genre. Crome Yellow tells of the goings-on at a house called Crome, an artists' colony of sorts where thinkers and writers gather to work, debate, and sometimes, to fall in love.

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