Article published in:Keeping Ourselves Alive
[Journal of Narrative and Life History 3:2/3] 1993
► pp. 197–208
"The Farcical History of Richard Greenow": Aldous Huxley and the Anxieties of Male Authorship
Abstract Aldous Huxley's first piece of published fiction, "The Farcical History of Richard Greenow" (1920), reveals anxieties about authorship and sexual iden-tity that were typical of modernist male writers. This article situates this nou-vella in two contexts. The first concerns Huxley's relationship with his aunt, novelist and social activist Mary Augusta Arnold Ward; the second centers on medical theories of homosexuality presented by Havelock Ellis in Sexual Inversion (1897). The protagonist calls himself a spiritual hermaphrodite because his body is inhabited by two personalities: a male intellectual and an increasingly aggressive female novelist and war propagandist named Pearl Bellairs. As a caricature of Mrs. Humphrey Ward, Pearl reveals Huxley's antagonism toward powerful and popular women novelists. But she also provides a way for protag-onist and author to defend themselves against same-sex eroticism. Ideology does not determine desire. Rather, in the story, as in Sexual Inversion, fears aroused by certain desires seek expression in specific cultural forms. (Literary criticism, psychological approach; gender studies)
Published online: 04 August 2015
Gilbert, S. M., & Gubar, S.