A Woman First Wrote About Ideas Made Famous In “1984” and “A Brave New World”

Rose Macaulay published “What Not” in 1919.

a brave new world
English novelist Rose Macaulay. (Photo by Sasha/Getty Images)
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In 1919, Rose Macaulay, a British writer who rubbed elbows with authors like Aldous Huxley, published a novel about a dystopian future called What Not. The book focused on a society where the government mandates mind-training and procreation regulation for all citizens and each person is ranked by intelligence. Sound familiar?

You might not know who Macaulay is or that she even has a novel, but you’re sure to know of the science fiction classic novels, A Brave New World by Huxley and 1984 by George Orwell – both novels include very similar themes and imagery throughout.

Macaulay and Huxley were close to editor Naomi Royde-Smith, which lead to crossing paths every now and then. At one point in time, Huxley was living with Royde-Smith while Macaulay would host literary parties in the same space. The pair mostly likely talked shop.

Macaulay’s novel, which has been out of print since the initial run, will be rereleased by Handheld Press in March.

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