Eyeless in Gaza (novel)

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Eyeless in Gaza
Eyeless in gaza.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
Author Aldous Huxley
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Publisher Chatto & Windus
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 619 pp
ISBN 978-0061724893

Eyeless in Gaza is a bestselling novel by Aldous Huxley, first published in 1936. The title originates from a phrase in John Milton's Samson Agonistes:

... Promise was that I
Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver;
Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza at the Mill with slaves ...

The title of the book, like Milton's poem, recalls the biblical story of Samson, who was captured by the Philistines, his eyes burned out, and taken to Gaza, where he was forced to work grinding grain in a mill.

The chapters of the book are not ordered chronologically. Aldous Huxley biographer Sybille Bedford claims in her fictive memoir Jigsaw that the novel's characters Mary Amberley, a drug addict, and her daughter were partly inspired by her own experiences with her morphine-addicted mother and herself, known to Huxley because they were neighbours in the south of France.


The novel focuses on the life of socialite Anthony Beavis, but it does so by employing a non-chronological structure. It juxtaposes four periods of Beavis' life, from the time that he is a young boy in the 1890s up until 1936. The novel describes Beavis as he goes through school, college and various romantic affairs, while probing the meaningless lives of the upper-class during the same period. The novel depicts Beavis' own gradual disillusionment with high society, brought to a head by the suicide of his friend. At this point, he begins to search for some source of meaning in his life, which seems to be provided when he discovers pacifism and then mysticism.[1]


It was adapted by Robin Chapman as a BBC mini-series in five episodes, shown in 1971.[2]


  1. ^ [1], JSTOR:NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction.
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346956/combined
  • Bleiler, Everett (1948). The Checklist of Fantastic Literature. Chicago: Shasta Publishers. p. 156. 
  • Bedford, Sybille, Aldous Huxley: A biography - 1973 - the standard, two-volume authorised biography of Huxley