Guide to Huxley's Island

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This guide contains information on the mind-boggling number of obscure references and vocabulary used in Island, by Aldous Huxley. It also translates the German, Latin, and French that Huxley, who was born in 1894, assumes the reader can understand since it was part of the curriculum at the time he was writing. He also assumes you know the English countryside and institutions very well.


To Laura- Laura Huxley, his wife.

1 2 3 4 5

""seraph""- The highest order of angels. Usually depicted as a cherub

""filial"" Relation of a child to a parent.


"Who prop, thou..."- From To A Friend, by Matthew Arnold, English poet and cultural critic, 1822-1888. Arnold's niece, Julia, was Huxley's mother.

Early Dali- Salvador Dalí, 1904-1989. Spanish surrealist painter. He did produce one, The Persistence of Memory, that one with a clock dripping off a table and another clock hanging over a branch.

Chilterns- An area of South-East England.

""cerulean""- dark or sky blue


Pala- The fictional Pacific island the story takes place on. For info on its possible location, see 87, 131, and 145. The text suggests that Pala is somewhere around the Indonesian island of Sumatra and South of the smaller Nicobar Islands. Nicobar was part of the British Indian colony until 1948. Huxley is being ambiguous but there is an island named Pulau, off the coast of Sumatra which may have served as a basis for a name. What's made clear is that Pala is off the Western coast of the Malaysian peninsula, where Huxley traveled to in 1926.

Rendang-Lobo- The nation closest to Pala. Again, fictional. The name probably comes from Rendang, a way of cooking meats in Indonesia and Malaysia, the mainlands that would be around Pala.

"Three for the rivals"- |Green Grow the Rushes, O, a Scottish folksong.



Mynah- A (non-fictional) type of bird that is good at imitating sound and speech.


Karuna- Compassion. They explain this later on.

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Baudelairean- Charles Pierre Baudelaire, 1821-1867, a French poet not only censored but prosecuted for his writing being "obscene". In this context it means ???.

The Tweed- The river that designates the Southern border of Scotland as it meets England.


St. Francis- A Catholic priest, 1182-1226. Referred to here and mocked because he would give sermons to animals, and is now considered the "patron saint" of animals and the environment by the Catholic Church.


Chiff-Chaff- A small European warbler with yellowish-green plumage. Warbler means songbird.

Erewhon- Written by Samuel Butler in 1872.

21 "Murugan Mailendra"-the soon-to-be Raja of Pala. His name is taken from the Hindu god of war of and victory 'Murugan', son of the god Shiva (who is the principle deity in the novel). 'Mal-indra' could be the fake latin for 'bad' combined with the Hindu sun god Indra (whose daughter is Murugan's consort), thus Murugan is the 'bad-son/sun god'

Antinous/Hadrian- Hadrian was Emperor of Rome from 117-138 AD. Antinous was his young male lover.


Balkan Sobranje- A Balkan Sobranie is a type of fancy cigarette. The book has either an outdated spelling or a typo.

""offing"" -sea distant from shore


""burnous"" hooded cloak

Rothamsted- An agricultural research center in the UK. See next entry for more info.

Lawes and Gilbert- Rothamsted is almost certainly the oldest agricultural research station in the world. Its foundation dates from 1843 when John Bennet Lawes, the owner of the Rothamsted Estate, appointed Joseph Henry Gilbert, a chemist, as his scientific collaborator. (Quoted from the Rothamsted website.)


Burnous- A hooded cloak worn especially by Arabs and Berbers.


Séance- A meeting of people to receive spiritualistic messages.

Scatalogical- Typo, it's actually spelt "scatological". The dictionary defines it politely as "The study of fecal excrement." It can be used in the literal sense when studying and tracking animals, and in the figurative sense as it is used here.

"...the word had an s at the end of it and not a t- Referring to the word "art". This would make it "ars" or "arse".


Europa's Lover- Roman mythology. Jupiter turned himself into a white bull, which was the statue seen in the previous sentence, to approach Europa. He then ran off with her and raped her. How this relates to Palanese culture is beyond me.

Juno's Birds- Peacocks. In the Roman Empire, peacocks symbolized Juno. They also symbolized the females of the ruling houses, the lineage of princesses.


Peepul tree- A fig tree (Ficus religiosa) native to India, having broadly ovate leaves with a long terminal projection. It is regarded as sacred by Buddhists. Also called a bo tree.


Revue de Mycologie- Review of Mycology. Mycology being the branch of botany that deals with fungi. A (non-fictional) journal that dealt with mycology, published until 2002. You'll find out later why he is reading this particular journal.


Epigram- A short, witty poem expressing a single thought or observation.

Vis medicatrix naturae- the healing power of nature. It's Latin, so "vis" is pronounced "wee-s".


Raja- the ruler of Pala. Raja is the title of kings in India and other Hindu countries.


Stoic- One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.

Nordic- Of, relating to, or characteristic of Scandinavia or its peoples, languages, or cultures.


Shanti- A Sanskrit term. Defined in the next sentence in the book.


Mendips- A hill range in England.

Austere- Plain. Having no adornment or ornamentation.



Jungfrau- A famous mountain in the Swiss Alps.

Monte Rosa- A famous region in the Swiss Alps.

35 36 37 38

""proffered"" -an offering

""incongruous"" -inappropriate or out of place.

""arian"" -The teaching by arius that god and jesus are not one in the same.

"I the Trinity illustrate…"- From Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister, by Robert Browning.

Pedant- One who pays undue attention to book learning and formal rules.

Blinkers- British term for the blinders put on racehorses that only let them see what's directly in front of them.


And ruin the Trinity?- Referring to the poem she recited on the previous page. She had taken 3 sips, like the poem says, and a fourth would break up her "trinity of sips".

Shivapuram- a fictional city, the capital of Pala. Shiva is one of the main Hindu gods, his depiction as the Nataraja, Lord of the Dance, is central to the Moksha ceremony later on. Puram is a Tamil term referring to the exterior structure of Hindu religious epics, it is also the name of a month on the Hebrew calendar. 40


Manichee- dualism.

the reconciliation of yes and no...- ???

carbolic soap- soap containing carbolic acid (phenol), an antiseptic.


Samsons- from the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah (Judges 13-16). Samson was a Hercules-like figure that nobody could beat. Delilah convinced him to expose his weakness, and he was defeated.

Yogin- Someone practising the techniques of yoga.

Stoic- One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.

Asceticism- extreme self-denial and austerity. The opposite of hedonism.


Spinoza- Baruch Spinoza, 1632 – 1677. Along with Descartes and Leibniz, he was one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy. He is considered the founder of modern Biblical criticism. His magnum opus was the Ethics.

St. John...- From the Bible- John 1:1- "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

reified- abstract but treated as having material existence. Referring to John 1:14- "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us."


Hellenistic- Of or relating to postclassical Greek history and culture from the death of Alexander the Great to the accession of Augustus.


Urchin who was cocked a snook- an urchin is a mischievous young boy. To cock a snook is a bloody British expression meaning to thumb one's nose, which means to mock.


Red herring across the trail- an expression for something that draws attention away from the main issue. Derived from the practice of using fish to throw off scent tracking dogs.


L'etat c'est moi?- Literally "I am the state". Meaning "I hereby claim absolute power". Quoted from Louis XIV.

48 49 50 51

Skoda- an automobile manufacturer from the Czech Republic, which would have been under Soviet rule in the 60s. They also made military armaments.


Assyrians- Ancient civilization notable for their militaristic society. In this context, it would appear that they are trying to say that Pala will become a militarized state similar to that of the Assyrians.

Polonius-A character in Hamlet who preaches moral decency whenever it is convenient for his own advancement. He's the one that gets stabbed through the curtain.


muslin- Any of various sturdy cotton fabrics of plain weave, used especially for sheets.

plaudits- Enthusiastic expression of praise or approval

Dacron- polyester fabric.

malgré la chaleur- Despite the heat.

car sa mère est parisienne- because his mother is from Paris.


Savonarola- Girolamo Savonarola, 1452-1498, was a Dominican priest and, briefly, ruler of Florence, who was known for religious reformation and anti-Renaissance preaching and his book burning and destruction of art.

Savile Row- a road in the City of Westminster in central London. In the 1800's it was a center of well-dressed men's fashion.

et combien sympathique- Literally "and how much likable".

fête nocturne- night party. That's really quite enough with the French.

Harun al-Rashid- 763-809, the fifth Abbasid caliph. He and his fabulous court at Baghdad are immortalized in The Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights).

Ophthalmia- Inflammation of the deep eye structures.

Hundred kilograms- 220 lbs. She's a big one.


adroitly- Skillful and adept under pressing conditions.

même dans le désastre- Literally "even in the disaster"


majuscule- A large capital letter used in writing or printing.

Séance- A meeting of people to receive spiritualistic messages.

Sidhis- spiritual powers. Generally considered to be temptations to distract you from attaining enlightenment.

N'exagérons pas, chéri- Let's not exaggerate, cherished. I take it "chéri" is a French equivalent of "darling".


malgré moi- in spite of myself.

Protuberant- Swelling outward; bulging.


Lausanne- a (non-fictional) university city in Switzerland.

Theosophist- Religious philosophy or speculation about the nature of the soul based on mystical insight into the nature of God.

Place de la Riponne- a place at Lausanne university where students hang out.

Kundalini- a form of yoga.

Koot Hoomi- a renown master of occultism from the end of XIX century, of Indian origin.

Note- If her story is beginning to seem a bit confusing, far fetched, and absurd- good. It's supposed to. It's all religious gibberish.


Crusade of the Spirit- a fictional religious movement, although fittingly, some Christian fundamentalists have recently been calling for a "Crusade of the Spirit" in those exact words.


Weltanschauung- world view


De mortuis- "about the dead". The complete phrase is de mortius nil nisi bonum, meaning, "Of the dead say nothing but good".


Sine qua non- indispensable; highest priority

Antinous- see 21


Brahmacharya- celibacy



Savonarola- see 54

Voltairean- following Voltaire's thinking



Pantheism- the doctrine or belief that God is the universe and its phenomena (taken or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that regards the universe as a manifestation of God

L'homme au cerf-volant- the man with the kite. They explain right after.


[whole first paragraph]???

Sidhis- see 56.


Plenary- Fully attended by all qualified members


Levantine- people of mainly French or Italian origin that inhabit the Levant (the middle east) and Turkey since the period of the Crusades and the Ottoman Empire.


Radhu- Typo- her name is Radha in the rest of the book. This is probably left over from a rough draft.


Au revoir, mon cher- good bye, my dear


Eine grosse seele- a large soul


valerian- a plant whose roots are used as a muscle relaxant.

""aberrated"" charectorized by defects



stripling- an adolescent youth

Pecca fortiter- sin bravely


Buddhist food- vegetarian, possibly vegan, although it's more complicated than that. Huxley was a vegetarian.


panacea- cure-all

Quote- "to the senseless nothing is more maddening than sense."


Voltairean- see 65.

the man with the cigar- referring to Freud.


"Those whom God would destroy..."- A quote from Euripides, Greek tragedy writer, 480-406 BCE.


Sodom and Gomorrah- Biblical cities that God destroyed because of their rampant perverse sexuality, particularly homosexuality. (Genesis 18-19)

lurid- causing shock or horror; gruesome

Messalinas- resembling Messalina, Roman empress notorious for debauchery


Quote- "The heart has its reasons, and the endocrines have theirs."

Sulka- ???

Transom- A small hinged window above a door

83 84 85 86


Shivapuram- see 39.

Maithuna- explained on pages 88-89.

Ceylon- An island country off the coast of India. It was renamed Sri Lanka in 1972. This suggests that the fictional island Pala is based on the Andaman islands. More evidence is given on page 131.

Mahayanists- followers of Mahayana, modern "north" branch of Buddism

Tantra- he'll explain shortly.


pedantry- an ostentatious or inappropriate display of learning.

proselytism- trying to convert someone to your beliefs.


Oneida Community- An attempted utopian commune founded in 1848. Ranga mentions it because one of their major principles was male continence, defined on the next page.


Male Continence- sex where the man is careful not to ejaculate.

coitus reservatus- basically the same as male continence

Spinoza- see 43.

Raja yoga- The yoga of Work.

Karma yoga- The yoga of Action.

Bhakti yoga- The yoga of Devotion.

91 92

The answer is in four letters.- Will is refusing to accept that sex can be spiritual, so he tries to make a joke of it. The four letters he refers to are f-u-c-k, making his question and answer: "what shall we do to be saved? Answer: fuck each other."


Rabelaisian- pertaining to or like the coarse, uproarious humor of François Rabelais (16th century French writer).

Ceylon- see 87.


Dior- a very expensive brand of clothes.

Krupp von Bohlen- Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach. Owner of the largest weapons manufacturer in Germany which supplied most of the weapons Germany used in World War I. The Treaty of Versailles broke up his company because of the staggering profit he made off the war.

Tangier- A city in northern Morocco.

Skoda- see 51.

Canapes- hors d'oeuvres, specifically a cracker or a small, thin piece of bread or toast spread with cheese, meat, or relish and served as an appetizer.

Chanel- pronounced "sha-nell". A high-class fashion brand.

Palace of Justice- ??? [which palace of justice?]


Independence Avenue- a major east-west street running just south of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. [this probably refers to a fictional street of the same name in Rendang]

Calcutta- now called Kolkata, it's the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal and was capital of British India until 1912.


Shivaites- Worshipers of the Hindu god Shiva.

agnostic- someone who does not buy into any particular religious doctrine.

Calvinism- A branch of Christian thought. It's main idea is that mankind is entirely depraved and sinful and is not capable of doing good. Therefore people are only saved because God picked them out. In practice, his followers dedicate their lives to work and business and power.


Malthus- Thomas Malthus, English demographer and economist, 1766-1834. He formulated the idea that follows after his name in the book: that food production increases arithmetically while population increases geometrically. That just means that, left unattended, the population tends to outgrow food production, leading to overpopulation, which makes war, famine or plague a necessity.

98 99

Veni, vidi- a famous Latin phrase- "veni, vidi, vici"- I came, I saw, I conquered. Coined by Caesar.

Collaborator from Rendang- Mr. Bahu

Baksheesh- from the Persian, a monetary bribe or "donation" to help gain influence. Can also be a tip or charity.

100 101 102

Calvin- John Calvin, 1509–1564, Christian Theologian shortly after the time of Martin Luther. His teachings are known as Calvinism, see 96.

Gentians- Any of numerous plants of the genus Gentiana, characteristically having showy, variously colored flowers.

Grindelwald- A famous tourist destination high in the Swiss Alps.

103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110

Seven ages of man- referring here to all stages of life. The saying comes from a Shakespeare soliloquy. The seven ages in the speech are 1) infancy, 2) childhood, 3) lover, 4) soldier, 5) justice, 6) old age, 7) senility/death





Papist- a disparaging term for a Roman Catholic.

Marxist- follower of the teachings of Karl Marx.

Billy Graham- evangelical preacher. He started preaching in 1934 and finally stopped in June 2005.

Mao Tse-tung- Leader of China's communist revolution and then the People's Republic of China.

Madonna of Fatima- the virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. One of the key symbols of the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Christian church, and in Islam.

St. Paul- The founder of the Christian church.


"There is a fountain fill'd with blood..."- A hymn from William Cowper's Olney Hymns (1779). To add to Susila's response, the hymn is called Praise for the Fountain Opened. Unless he is citing a different version, the last line is misquoted, it should be

       There is a fountain fill'd with blood
      Drawn from Emmanuel's veins;
      And sinners, plung'd beneath that flood,
      Lose all their guilty stains. 
Emmanuel is one of the Bible's many names for Jesus.  Cowper is pronounced "Cooper".

Gautama- Buddha's name before he became Buddha.

That poor ignorant man...- Still referring to St. Paul and his quote on the previous page, not to Jesus.


Ex parte- From a one-sided or strongly biased point of view.

Muezzin- In Islam, the crier who calls the faithful to prayer five times a day.

Minaret- A tall slender tower attached to a mosque, having one or more projecting balconies from which a muezzin summons the people to prayer.

117 118 119 120

Bloomsbury- A residential district of north-central London, England, made famous by its association with an influential group of writers, artists, and intellectuals

Flemish crucifixion- ???


Copse- A thicket of small trees or shrubs.

Anemones- Any of various perennial herbs of the genus Anemone, native chiefly to northern temperate regions and having palmately lobed leaves and large flowers with showy sepals. Also called windflowers.

122 123

Aesthete- One who cultivates an unusually high sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature.


Piero di Cosimo- Italian painter, 1462–1521.


Negro Nationalism- ???

Nairobi- The capital and largest city of Kenya.

126 127 128 129

Stoic- One who is seemingly indifferent to or unaffected by joy, grief, pleasure, or pain.


Blue or rosy symbols of enlightenment- Lotus flowers. Hence the name lotus pool.


Te Deum-ancient Latin thanksgiving hymn

Rendang, the Nicobar Islands, Sumatra- This suggests that the fictional island Pala is based on the Andaman islands, which unfortunately did have plenty of harbors and was colonized.

Irredenta- A region that is culturally or historically related to one nation but is subject to a foreign government.

132 133 134 135

Lingam- Hindu phallic symbol.


Goethe- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. 1749-1832. Pronounced "Gerta", trust me, "Gerta". German author during the time of Romanticism. He wrote Faust and Theory of Colors.

Alles vergangliche ist NICHT ein Gleichnis- Everything real is transient. The quote he is referring to is

"Alles vergangliche ist nur ein Gleichnis", meaning "everything transient is only an illusion".
In the modified form found here, it means "everything transient is NOT an illusion", or "everything real is transient".

Perth- A city in Australia, ashore to the Indian Ocean. It's the capital of the Western Australia state.

Rajput- A bloodline from India. Mostly Hindu.


Old Nobodaddy Aloft- A quote from William Blake, mocking the God in Christianity. See 156 for more on Blake.

Quod erat demonstrandum- Q.E.D. Literally "It has been shown." This is put at the end of a math or logical proof, saying "There, I proved it."

Pickwickian- meant or understood in an unusual way. Remember this one, he uses it a lot. Comes from the Dickens' character Mr. Pickwick, in The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club.


Bastille- prison.

Cameron- Janet McPhail's maiden name, indicating ???.


Argot- A specialized vocabulary or set of idioms used by a particular group.

Jehovah- God, especially in Christian translations of the Old Testament.

modish- in the current fashion or style.

weals- A weal is a ridge on the flesh raised by a blow; a welt.


Augustine- Augustine of Hippo 354–430. One of the key figures in the history of the Christian church. Among his accomplishments were preserving the idea of original sin, where all people are condemned from birth because of Adam and Eve. He also made popular the idea that the church has the right to enforce its religion on people with violence and murder.

"benignant asperity"- beneficial beatings.

Robespierre- One of the leaders of the French Revolution.[accompanied by Stalin - to emphasize cruelty coming from ideology].


Quote- "History is the record of what human beings have been impelled to do by their ignorance and the enormous bumptiousness that makes them canonize their ignorance as a political or religious dogma."

"The rod and reproof bring wisdom, but a child left to himself brings his mother shame."- The Bible, Proverbs 29:15.


the Tay- A river of central Scotland

the Benjamin- In the Bible, the youngest and best-loved son of Jacob and Rachel and the forebear of one of the tribes of Israel.

Epistles- the later books of the New Testament of the Bible, after the Gospels.



 I promise there are only 3 pages this complicated.  Take it slowly.

ribald- vulgar, lewd humor.

Tom Jones- a book by Henry Fielding, 1707-1754, a British novelist and dramatist. Among his works was The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, which openly mocks the moral rigidity of fashionable writers and critics while simultaneously acknowledging the frailties of his characters and celebrating their good natures.

Hume's ‘Essay on Miracles'- David Hume, 1711-1776, was Scottish philosopher and historian. He was big into skepticism, and his Essay on Miracles stated that miracles give little support to religion doctrine because the laws of nature are much more reliable than people's testimonies.

Gibbon- Edward Gibbon, 1737-1794, an influential historian, he wrote The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, first published in 1776. The people in his book were constantly under threat of religious persecution for expressing unorthodox views.

La Mettrie- Julien Offray de La Mettrie, 1709-1751, a French physician and philosopher, the earliest of the materialist writers of the Enlightenment. He has been claimed as a founder of cognitive science. During an attack of fever he made observations on himself with reference to the action of quickened circulation on thought, which led him to the conclusion that psychological phenomena could be accounted for as the effects of organic changes in the brain and nervous system. Pretty obvious stuff today, but it was blasphemy in his day.

Dr. Cabanis- Pierre Jean George Cabanis, 1757-1808, a French physiologist. The next sentence, "the brain secretes thought…" refers to his philosophy.

St. Augustine- see 140.

Athanasian- referring to Athanasius of Alexandria, another Catholic saint. [why]???

Wesleys, Puseys, Moodys and Billys- Sunday and Graham- Refers to a bunch of preachers. Let's do them one pair at a time.

Wesleys- Brothers John and Charles Wesley. Methodists, 18th century.

"Wesley's method of producing conversions which were essentially based  on the technique of heightening psychological stress to the limit by talking about hellfire  and so making people extremely vulnerable to suggestion and then suddenly releasing  this stress by offering hopes of heaven and this is a very interesting chapter of showing  how completely on purely intuitive and empirical grounds a skilled natural psychologist,  as Wesley was, could discover these Pavlovian methods."
-Aldous Huxley, in a speech at the Berkeley Language Center, March 20, 1962  (Speech Archive SA 0269)

Puseys- Edmund, Edward [why]???

Moodys- Dwight Lyman Moody 1837 - 1899.

Billy Sunday- 1862-1935.

Billy Graham- see 114.


Jeremiah act- Jeremiah was one of the great prophets of the Old Testament of the Bible. Known as "the broken-hearted prophet", he wrote, among other thing, the Lamentations of Jeremiah, a long winded rant on how awful his life is and how wonderful God is for making it so awful.

Hume- see 144

La Mettrie- see 144

HMS- Her Majesty's Ship or His Majesty's Ship (depending on who's in charge at the time). The English prefix for all ship names, equivalent to the United States prefix U.S.S.

Melampus- In Greek Mythology, Melampus was a soothsayer and healer who could talk to animals.

HMS Melampus- A non-fictional frigate that sailed during this time period. [did the described journey actually take place???]

Tahiti- An Island in the Pacific.

Samoa- An American territory in the Pacific. Google Map.

The Marquesas- Marquesas Islands

Perth- See 136

Borneo- Mount Kinabalu- ???

Panay- ???

Mergui Archipelago- ???

Andamans- [??? describe in relation to Pala's location]. Google Map.

Swansea or Huddersfield- examples of would-be medical practice location in UK


Belgrave Square- posh location, as above

Tuileries- as above(Paris)

Shivapuram- see 39


maxillary antrum- the maxillary sinus, one on either side of the nose.

blocked the throat- Huxley was dying of throat cancer while writing this book.

propitious- presenting favorable circumstances


The Lancet- medical journal

Elliotson- John Elliotson, English physician, student of mesmerism

effrontery- Brazen boldness.

mesmeric- Hypnotic induction believed to involve animal magnetism. The word comes from its founder, Franz Anton Mesmer.

La Mettrie and Hume and Cabanis- see 144

Sam Weller- a character in the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.


diphthong- A complex speech sound or glide that begins with one vowel and gradually changes to another vowel within the same syllable, as (oi) in boil or (IE) in fine.

aitches- 'H's spelled out. Look at the last line in the paragraph for an example of a dropped aitch (H).

150 151 152 153 154 155 156

The Proverbs of Hell- Part of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.

Blake- William Blake, English poet, 1757-1827. Clearly one of Huxley's favorite authors.


Rothamsted- see 23.

Brahmi- An ancient Indian family of scripts.

Ceylon- see 87

Caslon and Bodoni- Typefaces.

The Diamond Sutra- The Diamond Sutra is a short Mahayana Buddhist sutra, which teaches the practice of the avoidance of abiding in extremes of mental attachment. A copy of it is the oldest known printed book, dated 868.

Sindbad and Marouf- The main characters in The Arabian Nights

158 159 160 161 162

Memento mori- a reminder of death or the shortness of life. Latin, literally 'remember you must die'


Hadrian to Antinous- see 21.

"The serpent tempted me, and I did eat."- Genesis 3:13, Eve speaking.

gratis- free

164 165 166

moksha- liberation, enlightenment

samadhi- complete meditation. A state of complete control over the functions and distractions of consciousness.

tapas- spiritual suffering


EEG- Electro-encephalogram. A measurement of brain activity.

168 169 170 171

"but we make an import only what we can afford"- Typo. Should be "make and import".

171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178

Lebensraum- 'living space'; territory claimed to be necessary for national self-sufficiency.

Carlylean Hero- reference to Thomas Carlyle (1775-1881) who fancied great individuals.

Antinous- see 21.

179 180 181

superphosphates- A fertilizer made by reacting calcium phosphate ore with sulfuric acid. This converts the solid calcium phosphate, Ca3(PO4)2 into water soluble calcium superphosphate- Ca(H2PO4)2, which is readily taken up by plants.

Platonists- referring to Plato's parable of the cave.

Crass- So crude and unrefined as to be lacking in discrimination and sensibility.


Torquemada- Inquisitor General of the Spanish Inquisition. His name is now used to mean any cruel dictator or mass-murderer driven by religious fanaticism.


Gibbon- Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), a famous British historian, witty and anticlerical.

Pentonville- London prison

Wormwood Scrubbs- another London prison

Mantegazza- Paolo Montegazza - XIX c.Italian Darvinist

Galton- Francis Galton - XIX c. British antropologist



Somatotyping- characterizing the body.

EEG- see 167


Trotsky, Leon - a Soviet ideologist and politician who opposed the dictatorial tendencies of Stalin, founder of Trotskyism, a major Marxist school of thought as opposed to Stalinism.

kulaks- A prosperous landed peasant in czarist Russia, characterized by the Communists during the October Revolution as an exploiter.


rhododendrons- Any of numerous evergreen shrubs having clusters of variously colored, often bell-shaped flowers.

acrid- Unpleasantly sharp, pungent, or bitter to the taste or smell.


Canalize- To provide an outlet for; channel.


Lord Acton- John.E.E.D.Acton (1834-1902) - British historian

190 191 192 193

Euclidean- probably referring to "Euclidean geometry", which is the study of the relationships between angles and distances in space.

Norman Conquest- The Norman conquest of Britain in the eleventh century.

193 194 195 196 197

Borobudur- famous ancient Budhist temple on Java


"Pascal avait son gouffre"- first line of the poem Le Gouffre (The Abyss) by Charles Baudelaire, literally "Pascal had his abyss...".



Shivanayama- call of prayer to Shiva


Bhairava- "Fearsome" - addition to Shiva's name

202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209

Shanti- "Peace".


Pumelo- 'pomelo' a tropical fruit see pomelo.

Indoles- A class of chemicals that many psychoactive chemicals are based on.

Ololiuqui- say it- "oh-low-lee-you-key". A species of morning glory that produces seeds containing LSA, also known as ergine, which is a close relative of LSD, with similar but less potent effects.


Reticular system- The reticular activating system is the name given to part of the brain believed to be the centre of arousal and motivation in animals (including humans).

212 213

Tant mieux- so much the better.

214 215

"Con espressione"- "With Expression" - musical term.

Q.E.D.- Quod erat demonstrandum, see 137

Bientot- see you soon.

216 217

Arhat- The word was used (as it is today in the liturgy of Theravada Buddhism) as an epithet of the Buddha himself as well as of his enlightened disciples.


Tathagata- the name which the historical Buddha Gautama used when referring to himself.


Bodhisattva- a being who is dedicated to attaining Enlightenment.


Amitabha- Amitabha Buddha an ancient Buddha, possibly from "another realm".


Kyrie Eleison- Greek for "Lord, have mercy".

"La ila illa ‘llah"- The Shahadah, the Muslim confession - rendered in English: "[I testify that] there is no god (ilah) but Allah, and [I testify that] Muhammad is the messenger of Allah."


Gobind Singh- invented character

Sung- ???


Vuillard- French painter (1868-1940)


JB Watson- American psychologist (1878-1958)

Thomas Aquinas- Italian theologian (1225-1274)


"O Death in life…"- quotation from W. Wordsworth

Rorschach- Rorschach inkblot test used in psychology.

226 227 228

Dillip- ???

229 230

Gobind Singh- see 222


endomorphic- having a squat and fleshy build.

viscerotonic- temperament that is marked by predominance of social over intellectual or physical factors.


Delilah- from the Biblical story of Samson and Delilah (Judges 13-16). Samson was a Hercules-like figure that nobody could beat. Delilah convinced him to expose his weakness.


Melampus- see 145


Pavlov- Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist and psychologist, 1849-1936. He was the first to describe classical conditioning- where different stimuli get linked together- in his famous dog experiment, where he trained dogs to salivate in response to a bell by ringing the bell immediately before feeding them.


Memling- Hans Memling - Flamish religious painter(1433-1494)


Land of Cockayne- ficticious land of idle luxury


Bodhi- ???

Tree of Goatherd- ???


Tathagata- see 218

Totemism- ???

Fertility cults- ???

Pythagoras- mathematician&philosopher in ancient Greece.

Zoroaster- Persian prophet and founder of Persian religion with Ormuzd and Ahriman - gods o good and evil (660-583 B.C.)

Jains- ???

Jehovah vs. Satan and the Baalim- ???

Nirvana as opposed to Samsara- ???

Plato's Ideal Reality- ???

Tankriks- ???

Mahayanists- see 87

Taoists- ???

Nietzsche- ???


Havelock Ellis- British doctor and sexual psychologist, 1859-1939. Referred to here because of his support for eugenics. His method was far beyond ridiculous- "all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered," basically a government that keeps track of everything everyone is and does to selectively breed them.

Zen- brand of buddism

Muchalinda- ???

Rama- Hindu deity


Tara and Arjuna- Shanti and Vijaya's twin children.

Raos- ???

Rajajinnadasas- ???

241 242 243

invent. not the memory...- any simple spell checker should have caught this typo.


Crores of rupees- A crore is a unit in the Indian numbering system equal to ten million. The rupee is the common name for the currencies of India and some other south Asian countries.

Veranda- ???


Solomon- ???


Aeolian- The Aeolian mode. Also known as the natural minor scale in western music.


Narayan- a character

Chandra Menon- a character

Rothamsted- see 23.

Categorical imperative- ???

Meprobamate- a minor tranquilizer popular in the 1960's and 70's as the first "happy pill". It was later restricted because it is addictive.



Pedagogues- teachers33333333333333e

Late Victorian- ???


Wordsworth- William Wordsworth, English romantic poet, 1770-1850.

Traherne- Thomas Traherne, 1637-1674, British poet

Somnambulism- sleep-walking. Somna- sleep. Ambulism- walking.



Ampere- André-Marie Ampère, 1775–1836, a French physicist who is generally credited as one of the main discoverers of electromagnetism. The ampere unit of measurement of electric current is named after him.

Gauss- Carl Friedrich Gauss, 1777–1855, German mathematician and scientist of profound genius who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, magnetism, astronomy and optics. Sometimes known as "the prince of mathematicians", Gauss had a remarkable influence in many fields of mathematics and science and is ranked beside Euler, Newton and Archimedes as one of history's greatest mathematicians.

Dase- Zacharias Dase, 1824-1861. An idiot savant who once calculated 79532853 × 93758479 = 7456879327810587 mentally in 54 seconds.



Forbearance- patience

Gita- The Bhagavad Gita


Om- Om. A word, a mantra.

Bodhisattva- see 219.

olfaction- sense of smell

Champak- An evergreen timber tree native to India and having fragrant orange-yellow flowers that yield an oil used in perfumery.

Ylang-ylang- A tropical Asian tree having fragrant greenish-yellow flowers that yield an oil used in perfumery.



T.S. Eliot- Author of "The Wasteland".


Mendelian- Of or relating to Gregor Mendel or his theories of genetics. Gregor Mendel, 1822–1884 was an Austrian monk who is often called the "father of genetics" for his study of the inheritance of traits in pea plants.

259 260 261 262

Thorwald - Jürgen Thorwald (born October 28, 1915 Solingen – April 4, 2006 Lugano) was a German writer, journalist and historian known for his great works describing history of Forensic medicine and Second World War.

Dresden- German town

flayed- critical


Rococo - style in art

Sotto voce- in soft tones, so as not to be overheard.

Bodhisattvas- see 219.

Shaktis- ???

264 265

Mahakasyapa- first among the leaders/followers of Bhudda

266 267 268 269

Freud's eye view- ???

Cézanne's eye view- ???

Proust- Marcel Proust, author of "In Search of Lost Time".

Wordsworth- William Wordsworth, English romantic poet, 1770-1850.


Tathagata- see above


Mahayana- a major Buddhist sect.

Tantrik- see above.


Laconically- Using or marked by the use of few words.


Rakshasi Hornpipe- hornpipe = matelot - dance of sailors from the time of tall masts; Rakshasi - name of a lesser Hindu devil.

Bacchic orgies- debauched rites in honour of Greek god Bacchus

The Republic- reference to Plato

Nicomachean ethics or corybantic- ???

Plato and Aristotle- Greek philosophers

Maenads- female participants of Bacchic orgies

274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283

Wells Cathedral- A cathedral in England.

tetraethylene diamine and sulfurated hydrogen - smells associated with death (tetraethylene diamine also known as Putrescine together with cadaverine are the two compounds largely responsible for the foul odor of putrefying flesh. sulfurated hydrogen - a gas with a rotten egg smell which can result from the breakdown of organic matter)

symtrinitropsibutyl toluene - butyl toluenes are used in perfume

284 285 286 287 288 289

Struldbrugs- From Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Struldbrugs were people born immortal, but after so many years went blind and deaf and could not support themselves. It was considered a curse. Refers here to very old people who have nothing left to live for yet keep on living.

Tithonuses- In Greek mythology Tithonus was a mortal beloved by Aurora, the goddess of the dawn. She begged Zeus to give him eternal life, but forgot to ask also for eternal youth. As Tithonus withered, he shrank into a grasshopper.

Aquiline- Of, relating to, or having the characteristics of an eagle.

290 291

Pickwickian- see 137

"If after the manner…"- From the Bible, First Corinthians 15:32.

aesthete- One who cultivates an unusually high sensitivity to beauty, as in art or nature


"Forgive them, for they…"- From the Bible, Luke 23:34. Jesus speaking about the people killing him.

Gautama- see 115.


corollary- inference

dhyana- contemplation

perfunctory- Done routinely and with little interest or care


"Soles occidere et redire…"- A poem by Catullus, a Roman poet. 84-54 BC. It is translated right after, but very loosely. Huxley's interpretation is more of a re-write than a translation.

A more literal translation reads:
Suns may set, and suns may rise again
but when our brief light has set,
night is one long everlasting sleep.
Give me a thousand kisses.

295 296 297

canonicals- The dress prescribed by canon for officiating clergy.

Mens sana in corpore sano- A sound mind in a healthy body.


banyan tree- kind of fig tree with multiple "air roots" forming a sort of colonnade


melismata- A passage of several notes sung to one syllable of text, as in Gregorian chant.

Bodhi tree- ???


Paul- St. Paul.

Freud- Sigmund.

Original Sin- the one committed by Adam and Eve

Scheme of Redemption- ???

Oedipus Complex- one of basic Freud's concepts in psychoanalysis.


Rakshasi Hornpipe- matelot, a dance of saiolrs from tall masts era


Proscenium- The stage of a theater, located between the background and the orchestra.

Pediment- A wide, low-pitched gable surmounting the façade of a building in the Grecian style.

Buskined- wearing buskins- boots reaching halfway up the knee, especially worn by actors in Greek and Roman tragedies. Because of this they are symbols of tragedy.

Obeisance- A gesture or movement of the body, such as a curtsy, that expresses deference or homage.

Supplication- A request made humbly or earnestly, as by praying.


Basso profundo- A deep bass singing voice.

The Dead March in Saul- ???

bier- a coffin along with its stand.


Arabesque- An intricate or elaborate pattern or design. Literally means Arab-like.

305 306

Arua- This is a typo. It's supposed to be "aura".

"Ma Petite Voix"- My Little Voice

"Cher"- Dear

"avait raison"- was correct.


"bien sincerement votre"- Sincerely yours


axiomatic- self-evident.

Oestrin- an estrogenic hormone

Chyle- A milky fluid consisting of lymph and emulsified fat extracted from chyme by the lacteals during digestion and passed to the bloodstream through the thoracic duct.


Milliard- a billion. Seems to be saying that the human brain has about 3 billion cells, but it actually has about 100 billion. Also may be interpreted to refer to the three billion inhabitants of the Earth in 1963.

Pink Epinephrin, White Epinephrin- Refers to the body's functions. These are archaic, pre-biology terms, which meant ???.

ten to the ninth times three- three billion again.



"Bonne nuit"- Good night

"Altesse"- Your Highness, Prince


frieze- a decorative horizontal band, as along the upper part of a wall in a room.

Indic- Of or relating to the branch of the Indo-European language family comprising Sanskrit, the Prakrits, and their modern descendants, such as Bengali, Hindi-Urdu, and Punjabi.

stentorian- very loud

supererogatory- superfluous, unnecessary

313 314 315 316 317

Arundel- A town in West Sussex, England.


Buddha Amitabha- ???

Little Nell- From Little Nell's Funeral, by Charles Dickens.

319 320 321

Stertorous- A heavy snoring sound in respiration.

322 323

Casus belli- Cause for war.

324 325 326

Devil's Island- A French prison famous for its brutality and store of political prisoners.

Plotinus- Greek philosopher around 200 CE. He taught that there is a supreme, totally transcendent "One". This inspired many religious writings.

The Gnostics- Followers of any of various mystical religions before the rise of Christianity.


Eckhart- Meister Eckhart, 1260 - 1328, German theologian and philosopher. The quote is from ???.

Fourteenth of July- A painting by Van Gogh.

328 329

Donum- gift. It's Latin, think ‘donation'.

330 331

pellucid- Transparently clear in style or meaning.

Logical Positivist- someone who maintains that any statement that cannot be verified empirically is meaningless. Being contrasted here with representatives of the extreme opposite.

Plotinus- see 326.

Julie de Lespinasse- French author, 1732-1776.

332 333 334

calcimine- white wash.

Cubist- someone who paints with abstract and geometric structures. The following link has some good examples.

Juan Gris- Spanish Cubist painter and sculptor, 1887-1927.

Traherne- see 250.


lapis lazuli- a deep blue gem.

Pickwickian- see 137


"Something far more deeply infused...- A quote from Wordsworth. The whole quote is:

I have felt a presence that disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused, whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the living air, a motion and a spirit, that impels all thinking things, all objects of all thought, and rolls through all things.

Wordsworth- William Wordsworth, English romantic poet, 1770-1850.


oleographs- pictures printed with oil paints to simulate oil paintings.

Woolworth- one of the first large general retailers, mainly in Britain, similar to Wal-Mart in the U.S.



hexapods- insects. Any creature with 6 legs.

bipeds- people. Any creature with 2 legs.

Brown Shirts- Nazis.


Nordic- see 31.

Baroque- either extravagant and complex in ornamentation, or irregularly shaped. Not sure which he means here.

diabolism- evil

serried- Pressed or crowded together, especially troops crowded together in rows.

rostrum- A dais, pulpit, or other elevated platform for public speaking.

rococo- immoderately elaborate or complicated.

flyblown- contaminated with flies and fly eggs. Also means tainted, corrupt, dirty and squalid.

Algerian farm- I'm not sure if this is what he's referring to, but Algeria's war for independence from France ended in 1962, one year before the book was published, so Will, as a reporter, would possibly have been there.

St. John's Wood- Not sure about this one either: twenty years earlier would be during WWII, during which London was rocket bombed by the Nazis. Will could have been reporting on the devastation.

Radio Stuttgart- a Stuttgart, Germany based orchestra famous for playing contemporary music.

Good Friday music out of Parsifal- Parsifal is an opera by Richard Wagner (pronounced "Vagner"). The Good Friday music is ???.


Rallentando- a musical term for slowing down

342 343 344 345

Sunyata- Emptiness

Karuna- Compassion.

Chartres- A French city southwest of Paris. Famous for the Cathedral of Chartres (see the link for a picture.)


Rembrandt- Dutch painter, 1606-1669. He painted rich, dramatic, lively scenes and is generally considered one of the greatest painters in European art history.

charnel house- a vault in which the bones or bodies of the dead are placed.


Maitreya Buddha- the Bodhisattva who is to appear as a Buddha 5000 years after the death of Gautama.

Incarnate Bereavement with seven swords in her heart- Incarnate bereavement would be "the embodiment of suffering". This specifically refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the seven swords in her heart are the seven sorrows she is honored for in the Catholic Church.

Circean- relating to Circe- a goddess who turned Odysseus's men temporarily into swine but later gave him directions for their journey home. Here she represents strength.

Mater Dolorosa- suffering mother. Referring to Jesus' mother Mary again.


Circe- A goddess who turned Odysseus's men temporarily into swine but later gave him directions for their journey home.

Ninon de Lenclos- French author and courtesan, 1620-1705.

Juliana of Norwich- English mystic

Catherine of Genoa- a catholic saint


Bantam- A small but aggressive and spirited person.


acrid- Unpleasantly sharp, pungent, or bitter to the taste or smell.

Fourteenth of July- A painting by Van Gogh.


Blake- William Blake, see 156

352 353

lascivious- Given to or expressing lust.

Wurlitzer- a jukebox made by the Wurlitzer company.

da capo- From the beginning. Used as a direction to repeat a passage.


Tathagata- see 218.


Will Farnaby- Main character, a reporter who washed ashore on Pala and learns all about the island while secretly working with special interests conspiring against Pala.

Susila MacPhail- Dr. MacPhail's daughter-in-law, helps will with meditation techniques and talks about his past.

Dr. Robert MacPhail-

Vijaya Bhattacharya-

Murugan Mailendra- Heir to rule Pala, disgusted with much of Palanese society, very protected by his mother and involved in a secret love affair with Colonel Dipa.

Skanda (called also, Murugan,) one of the two sons of the Indian god, Shiva, has a peacock for his mount. Lord of the elements of form, he is also a war god.

The Rani, Fatima- Murugan's mother. Extremely spiritual, claims to hear a "little voice" telling her about the future. Conspiring against Pala with Will and Mr. Bahu.


Mr. Bahu- Ambassador to Colonel Dipa.

Mary Sarojini- Daughter of Susila.

Tom Krishna- Son of Susila.

Characters you only hear about:

Molly Farnaby- Will's ex-wife, shortly after breaking up she died in a car accident that Will feels responsible for.

Aunt Mary- Will's aunt gave him his few moments of peace in childhood, but then she slowly died of breast cancer. Incidentally, Huxley's first wife, Maria, died of breast cancer in 1955.

Dr. Andrew MacPhail- Joe Aldehyde- Will's employer, involved in oil and other interests.

Colonel Dipa- Revolutionary leader of Rendang. Having an affair with Pala's heir, Murugan.

Babs- A woman Will has an affair with, eventually leaving his wife for her.