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Ape and Essence

Charles D. Aring, M.D.
Arch Intern Med. 1961;107(5):784. doi:10.1001/archinte.1961.03620050150016.
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This is one of Huxley's prescient books, which seem to gain significance with the passage of time. Cast in the form of a play, the story is laid in the early years of the twenty-second century. An expedition sets out from New Zealand ("a county-like Equatorial Africa, too remote to be worth anyone's while to obliterate") to rediscover America, largely depopulated by atomic activity during the third World War. The hero, a scientist, is a shy frustrated bachelor ("the fault lies with that devoted and intensely widowed mother of his—that saint, that pillar of fortitude, that vampire, who still presides at his breakfast table and with her own hands launders his silk shirts and sacrificially darns his socks"). He is pursued somewhat by another member of the expedition, a young lady of thirty-five—"In her tweeds and her horn-rimmed spectacles Ethel Hook is one of those extraordinary wholesome, amazingly efficient and


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