Viva success: Reanne Crane

Congratulations to Reanne Crane, for successfully defending her PhD thesis “Aldous Huxley’s Island Revisited: Psychedelics and the Semantics of Perception and Belief.”

Both examiners were ‘very impressed with the depth and breadth of scholarship,’ suggesting that the thesis ‘is at a very high standard of scholarly excellence,’ and that it is ‘an admirable research study.’

Reanne’s supervisor, William Rowlandson, Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, explains that the dissertation focuses on Aldous Huxley’s final novel, Island, and the philosophical, ethical, pedagogical and metaphysical considerations of psychedelics in Huxley’s final years.

It also draws on the influence of Laura Archera, Huxley’s wife, upon his evolving thoughts on the psyche and psychedelics and upon the creative development of the novel.

The project, William writes, is a significant intervention into Huxley scholarship. It is also a penetrating exploration of the current growing scholarly field of Psychedelic Studies. Reanne explores the long shadow cast over the landscape by Huxley’s Doors of Perception and the overlooked value of his perspectives at the time of Island. This is reflected in Reanne’s consideration of the increasing corporatisation and commoditisation of psychedelics in an increasingly corporatized and commoditised world. Island, in this respect, serves as a valuable – and prophetic – illustration of this tension.

William congratulates Reanne for the excellent thesis and for defending the work in the viva, and looks forward to seeing the book publication.