Excellence in Arts and Sciences: The Huxley Family#

Excellence in Arts and Sciences: The Huxley Family is an upcoming conference hosted by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, on 8th and 9th November 2019, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Aldous Huxley’s birth. In the best spirit of the ongoing dialogue carried forward by the famous Huxley brothers – Julian and Andrew, as well as Aldous – and their equally renowned forebears – most importantly T. H. Huxley, Matthew Arnold, Leonard Huxley, Julia (Arnold) Huxley, and Mrs Humphrey Ward – the event is meant to highlight the unavoidable mutuality of the two major branches of obtaining knowledge: the humanities on one side and the “hard” sciences on the other. The interdisciplinary conference is designed to promote an enlightening exchange of ideas among the leading international representatives of biology, psychology and the cognitive sciences, general medicine, philosophy, art history, literary scholarship, and religious studies.

Budapest is a particularly auspicious venue, as the conference promises to be a fitting preliminary to the World Science Forum to be held shortly after our event, not to mention the long history of the rich Hungarian reception of the Huxley family’s contribution to universal culture. At a time when it is deemed of primary importance to highlight the communality fostered by familial as well as interdisciplinary relations, an academic event celebrating the heritage of an exceptionally influential family of writers and scientists is bound to receive the attention it undoubtedly deserves.

Plenary lectures will be held by David Damrosch MAE, Bernfried Nugel, Csaba Pléh MAE and Stephen Prickett.

Confirmed speakers include Gábor Bodnár, Andrew Biswell, Gregory Claeys, Péter Dávidházi, Rodica Dimitriu, Vita Fortunati, Irina Golovacheva, Jerome Meckier, Csaba Pléh, Stephen Prickett, Mikós Réthelyi and others.

Hungarian organizers: Zsolt Czigányik, Péter Dávidházi MAE, Ákos Farkas.

The conference is sponsored by Eötvös Loránd University, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and the National Commission for UNESCO of Hungary and supported by Academia Europaea.


9:00–13:30 Registration

9:15–9:30 Welcome to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences — greetings

9:30–10:30 Plenary 1

Bernfried Nugel, “The Anti-Utopian Drift in Aldous Huxley’s Literary Utopias”; chair: Vita Fortunati

10:30–10:45 Refreshments

10:45–12:15 Session 1 (Nightmarish Futures)

Chair: Zsolt Czigányik
Gregory Claeys MAE, “‘Ending Is Better than Mending’: Aldous Huxley and the Ideology of Consumption”
Andrew Biswell, “Dystopia Revisited: Aldous Huxley and Anthony Burgess”
Károly Pintér, “Dream as a Literary Motif and a Scientific Phenomenon in Aldous Huxley’s Dystopian Works”

12:15–13:30 Lunch break

13:30–14:30 Plenary 2

Stephen Prickett, “Towards a Truly Scientific Religion: Mrs Ward, Ethnography & History” chair: Ákos Farkas

14:30–14:45 Refreshments

14:45–16:15 Session 2 (Science and Religion)

Chair: Angelika Reichmann
Péter Dávidházi MAE, “Thomas Henry Huxley and the Naming of Agnosticism”
Zsolt Czigányik, “Fictionality and Non-Fiction in Aldous Huxley’s The Devils of Loudun
Anna Campbell, “Ectogenesis and Class Politics in Huxley’s Brave New World

16:30–17:30 Roundtable around a Family

Keynote: Eörs Szathmáry, “Bulldog, Utopist, Nobelist: Notes on a Remarkable Family” roundtable moderated by Gábor Soós

17:30–19:00 Relaxation

19:00–22:00 Conference dinner in “Vén Hajó” restaurant


9:00–11:00 Late registration

9:15–9:30 Welcome to Eötvös Loránd University — greetings (Room 356)

9:30–10:30 Plenary 3

Csaba Pléh, “‘Fashions in Love’ of Aldous Huxley and the Re-emergence of Romantic Relations”; chair: Andrea Timár

10:30–10:45 Refreshments

10:45–12:45 Session 3a (Science, politics, and history) (Room 356)

Chair: Irina Golovacheva
Sándor Hites, “Science and the State: The Clash of T.H. Huxley and Herbert Spencer over Publicly Funded Research”
Miklós Réthelyi, “Julian Huxley (1887-1975) the Herald of Evolution”
György Kozma, “Karl Mannheim or Julian Huxley: The Imprevisibility Factor when Presidents Choose a UN Unit Director”
Maša Uzelac, “‘The Two Cultures’ from Huxley to Houellebecq”

10:45–12:45 Session 3b (The Senses and the Body) (Room 423)

Chair: Andrew Biswell
Andrea Timár, “Dehumanisation and Drugs in the Writings of S.T. Coleridge and Aldous Huxley”
Zsuzsa Hetényi, “Sinking in Senses: Huxley and Nabokov”
Ákos Farkas, “Who Nose Best? A Sensory-Ethical Approach to Eyeless in Gaza”

12:45–14:00 Lunch break

14:00–15:00 Plenary 4 (Room 356)

David Damrosch, “Brave New World Literatures: Aldous Huxley between Empire and Globe”; chair: Péter Dávidházi

15:00–15:30 Refreshments

15:30–17:00 Session 4a (Across Boundaries) (Room 356)

Chair: Károly Pintér
Rodica Dimitriu, “Aldous Huxley Revisited: 85 Years of Romanian Reception”
Angelika Reichmann, “Bugs, Burrow, Inquisitor: Dostoevskian Intertexts in Eyeless in Gaza
Gábor Bodnár, “Faith Counters Faith: Arts in the Arts from a Music Theorist’s Point of View”

15:30–17:00 Session 4b (Peace and War) (Room 423)

Chair: Hites Sándor
Vita Fortunati, “Huxley’s last works: Towards an Ecological and Pacifist Society”
Miklós Lojkó, “In the Shadow of Dictators: Sir Laurence Collier, Eminent Diplomat in the Huxley Family”
Irina Golovacheva, “War and Numbers in Aldous Huxley’s Letters and Brave New World

17:15–18:15 Plenary 5 (Room 356)

Jerome Meckier, “Aldous Huxley and the Cure Scene in Modern Literary Utopias”; chair: Ákos Farkas

17:15–17:45 Closing and farewell (Room 356)

Download the programme(info).





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