What Not (Annotated): A Prophetic Comedy (Handheld Classics Book 7)
by Rose Macaulay on 2019-03-25
This new edition of What Not reinstates the original, suppressed pages that were removed after its first publication, and restores the integrity of Rose Macaulay’s original vision. No other edition of What Not in print contains this material.
What Not was a significant influence on Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, fourteen years later, as he borrowed her ideas about goverment-enforced breeding and classification, without revealing where those ideas came from.
Published in 1918, What Not was hastily withdrawn due to potentially libellous pages, and was reissued in 1919, but had lost its momentum. Now republished for the first time with the suppressed pages reinstated, What Not is a lost classic of feminist protest at social engineering, and rage at media manipulation.
Kitty Grammont and Nicholas Chester are in love. Kitty is certified as an A for breeding purposes, but politically ambitious Chester has been uncertificated, and may not marry. Kitty wields power as a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Brains, which makes these classifications, but does not have the freedom to marry who she wants. The popular press, determined to smash the brutal regime of the Ministry of Brains, scents an opportunity for a scandalous exposure.
Aldous Huxley was a frequent guest at Macaulay’s flat while she was writing What Not. Fourteen years later, his Brave New World borrowed many of Macaulay’s ideas for Huxley’s own prophetic vision.
The introduction is by Sarah Lonsdale, senior lecturer in journalism at City University London.