Huxley began as a poet. He perfected the voice of the modern satirical poet of ideas who used art against itself to produce a parodic poetry of breakdowns, collapses, stalemates, and dead ends best suited to the apparent pointlessness of the post-war era. His cleverest, most irreverent poems are contrapuntal; they in effect silence venerable poets and cancel traditional formats. Huxley's poetic personas either fail to preserve conventional forms or purposely sabotage them. By 1920, Huxley became the parodic equivalent of the formative intelligences (i.e., Dante, Goethe, Lucretius) who once synthesized their respective eras positively. Meckier explicates most of Huxley's poems, including "Leda" his masterpiece, an ironical modern myth. He traces Huxley's development in terms of the poets he inserted in five of his eleven novels, along with their poems. These poets mostly fail as poets, their different stances falling apart one after another. But Huxley began to detect a spiritual significance underlying the creative urge. This allowed him to rehabilitate many of the Romantic and Victorian poets he formerly ridiculed as frauds and liars. Eventually, he celebrated mystical contemplation as silent poetry, positing a utopia in which everyone is a poet to the limits of his or her potentiality. Huxley became the perennial philosopher, a neo-Brahmin: the sage-like figure he initially personified parodically. His paradigmatic career took him from a Pyrrhonic silencing of outmoded poems and poets to the advocacy of a poetry of silence.
Professor emeritus of English at the University of Kentucky, Jerome Meckier has published seven books and dozens of essays on nineteenth and twentieth century English and American literature. Besides three book-length studies of Dickens, he has written Aldous Huxley: Satire and Structure and edited Critical Essays on Aldous Huxley. A collection of his essays on Huxley has been published as Aldous Huxley: Modern Satirical Novelist of Ideas. He is a curator of the Aldous Huxley Society and co-edits Aldous Huxley Annual.