Date of Award

Spring 1950

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The line between literature and philosophy is not sharply defined, and it is never quite certain where one leaves off end the other begins. It is possible to avoid the problem altogether, if it is a problem. The Critique of Pure Reason is convincing proof that literary considerations may be avoided entirely in philosophic writing. Poe championed the other extreme, but the isolation of literature has not often been successful, and on the whole, it is perhaps justifiable to claim that literature must be a criticism of life; that is, it must have philosophic content.

From the critical point of view the problem amounts to this: How far can a philosophic exam:tn&tion proceed and yet remain in the province of literature? This.thesis is a case in point. Throughout, it has been difficult to decide just how far the philosophic implications of Huxley's work should be pursued. In sections five and six, for example, would it have been profitable to give a fairly detailed account of Vedanta? In section six, in particular, Spinoza's Ethics was obviously relevant. Should lengthy comparisons have been made?

In such cases, the decision not to go further was admittedly quite arbitrary. The line had to be drawn somewhere if the discussion were to be kept within the literary context. Therefore, from the purely philosophic point of view, the essay is open to very serious criticism; the intent has been merely to facilitate interpretation, and only the most general indications have been made of the philosophic background just sufficient, it is hoped, to give significance to the intellectual development reflected in Huxley's novels.