Through the decades: Imagining Brave New World

Through the decades: Imagining Brave New World

30 July 2015

by Nick Rice

Check out how Brave New World has been imagined in different decades, from the very first illustrative cover, through to the poster for this September's premiere stage adaptation.

In cities across the UK, posters for the stage adaptation of Brave New World are appearing everywhere! It got us thinking. How has Brave New World been imagined through the years and are there any clues as to whether we are indeed headed toward Huxley's dystopian nightmare? 


Brave New World in 1932

The first UK edition, designed by Leslie Holland.  Even though Holland’s design clearly depicts the idea of a divisive new world, Holland had in fact never read the book. Published by Chatto and Windus in 1932.

Penguin's cover in 1965

Penguin’s 1965 edition of Brave New World gives us the creeps! Illustrated by Denis Piper, this scary-looking cover features expressionless clones. Argh, stay back!


Brave New World by Leonard Rosoman in 1971

This 1971 cover by the Leonard Rosoman looks a whole less creepy. Ok, it’s a faceless baby… but we love the contrast with the roses. Published by the Folio Society, the book featured Leonard’s illustrations throughout and was also available in a futuristic metallic silver!

1980 TV version

In 1980, the book was adapted for American TV. We can only assume the illustrator was an Abba super fan. Wait, is that Richard Branson?

Clones are marching: Brave New World in 1998

This cover, published just before the millennium in 1998 by Harper Perennial, came following the cloning of ‘Dolly the sheep’ in 1996. The idea of human cloning became a hot debate topic and the first hybrid human clone was created a few years later.

Is soma here? Brave New World depicted in 2004

‘There’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts”

In this 2004 cover, published by Harper Collins, the emphasis is on the theme of control through pleasure with happiness-inducing drug soma.

2015 stage adaptation

The poster for the 2015 world-premiere stage adaptation of Brave New World, directed by James Dacre.  The title text depicts the idea of a new world using an image of a distant galaxy.  Underneath combines elements of the hatchery with mind-altering drug soma. Is that John the Savage in there?

Brave New World is touring from September – December 2015 so look out for the poster in a city near you.

Brave New World premieres at Royal and Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 4 to 26 September 2015. It then tours to Edinburgh, Blackpool, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Bradford where it concludes on 5 December.