”Aldous Huxley spares no one in his ironic, piercing portrayal of a group gathered in an Italian palace by the socially ambitious and self-professed lover of art, Mrs. Aldwinkle. Here, Mrs. Aldwinkle yearns to recapture the glories of the Italian Renaissance, but her guests ultimately fail to fulfill her naive expectations. Among her entourage are: a suffering poet and reluctant editor of the ”Rabbit Fanciers’ Gazette” who silently bears the widowed Mrs. Aldwinkle’s desperate advances; a popular novelist who records every detail of her affair with another guest, the amorous Calamy, for future literary endeavors; and an aging sensualist philosopher who pursues a wealthy yet mentally-disabled heiress. Stripping the houseguests of their pretensions, Huxley reveals the superficiality of the cultural elite. Deliciously satirical, Those Barren Leaves bites the hands of those who dare to posture or feign sophistication and is as comically fresh today as when first published.”
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