Defeat of Youth and Other Poems
Though later known for his essays and novels, Aldous Huxley started his writing career as a poet. Published in 1918, The Defeat of Youth and Other Poems is his third compilation of poetry. The volume begins with "The Defeat of Youth", a sequence of twenty-two sonnets that explores irreconcilability of the ideal and the disappointing reality. Jerome Meckier called it “the century’s most successful sonnet sequence, better than Auden’s or Edna St. Vincent Millay’s.” In the rest of the volume, Huxley continues to explore themes started in The Burning Wheel, his first volume of poetry, including vision, blindness, and other contrasts. The volume concludes with two English translations by Huxley of two French poems: Stéphane Mallarmé’s 1876 poem “L’Après-midi d’un faune" and Arthur Rimbaud’s (1871) poem “Les Chercheuses de poux,” translated as “The Louse Hunters.” Summary by Mary Kay.