Dorothy L. Sayers & Aldous Huxley

I reread Point Counter Point after discovering that Dorothy L. Sayers wittely, intellectually and mostly gently pokes fun at the book and its author in The Documents in the Case, in the person of John Munting, alias Philip Quarles, alias Aldous Huxley himself (talk of Russian puppets inside puppets!). Of course Aldous Huxley was a pacifist, Sayers quite the contrary; Sayers was a Catholic, be it more of the mind than of the heart, where Huxley tends to some unspecified universal mysticism. Both are “passionate minds“.

Point Counter Point offers great satirical portraits of D.H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Lady Ottoline Morell, and Huxley himself.

In this first “novel of ideas” Huxley experiments with an essayistic form of narrative, trying to cramp as many ideas & theories into the book as possible. “Ape and Essence”, as it were. When the reader gets rather bored with the non-moving non-plot & the avalanche of philosophical talk, Philip-Quarles-alias-Huxley explains why the book is getting so sadly tedious. Then follow a Murder, and the Death of a Child.

All the Great Questions are raised in both books – “What is Life”, of course, Religion & Politics, and the respective beastlinesses of Communism and Fascism. And Sex, the big teaser of the Thirties. Both are brilliantly funny. As a crime-novel, Documents is rather a disaster – as a novel, Point is rather a bore. But essayistically spoken, both are gorgeously brilliant.

Aldous Huxley — Point Couter Point on Goodreads