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Beyond the Subliminal Mind

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Psychical Research in the Work of Aldous Huxley

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There has been a welcome emphasis in the last decade on the importance of mysticism in the work of Aldous Huxley (1894–1963) from several scholars, including Dana Sawyer, Jeffrey Kripal and K.S. Gill. Less attention has been paid to Huxley’s interest in the paranormal and his contacts with the Society for Psychical Research (SPR). While Huxley did not join the SPR until 1956, he closely followed its Journal and Proceedings, and wrote a number of essays on the subject of psychical research. I examine his treatment of spiritualism in the play The World of Light (1931) and in the novel Time Must Have a Stop (1944). In his experiments with mescaline and LSD, Huxley also drew on key thinkers from psychical research, namely Henri Bergson, C.D. Broad and William James. In this article, I examine Huxley’s links with the SPR and the role of psychical research in his work.

Affiliations: 1: Queen Mary, University of London j.r.poller@qmul.ac.uk

10.1163/15700593-01502003
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2015-01-01
2017-11-20

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