Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), the world-famous author of BRAVE NEW WORLD, was one of the great literary visionaries of the 20th century. The grandson of Thomas H, Huxley (Darwin's famous defender), he was born in England and educated at Eton and Oxford. He traveled widely in his youth and lived in Italy for a while in the 1920s. He began his literary career with poetry and critical essays, then turned to novels. Having been born just too late to participate in World War I, he was able, in his early works, such as CROME YELLOW (1921), ANTIC HAY (1923), THOSE BARREN LEAVES (1925), and POINT COUNTER POINT (1928), to perfectly capture a sense of purposeless aftermath which resonated strongly in British society at the time. A satirical strain already evident manifested itself spectacularly in BRAVE NEW WORLD (1932), after which much of his work began to show a fantastic or speculative cast, including AFTER MANY A SUMMER DIES THE SWAN (about immortality, 1939), TIMES MUST HAVE A STOP (1944), and APE AND ESSENCE (a dystopia, 1948). ISLAND, his last work, published in 1962, is a utopia. Late in life he developed an increasing disdain for Western society and an interest in Eastern mysticism and in the possibilities of psychedelic drugs, which he described in THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION (1954). MORTAL COILS is a short-story collection from Huxley's early period, including one of his most popular stories, "The Gioconda Smile."