Jacob's Hands by Aldous Huxley & Christopher Isherwood

Saturday, 14 July 2012 19:47 Dave Truesdale

"Jacob's Hands" is an original story written by Aldous Huxley (1894-1963, photo at left) and noted novelist Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986, photo at right) especially for the CBS Radio Workshop (January 1956-September 1957). It aired on April 13, 1956 and was narrated by Isherwood. It tells the story of a humble southwestern U.S. farmer who discovers his hands have the power to heal. His fame spreads and leads to complications and compromises, both ethical and financial, eventually taking his measure as a man and forcing him to look deep within himself for answers.

Aldous Huxley is perhaps most well known worldwide for his 1932 novel Brave New World, which this very same CBS Radio Workshop chose to adapt in two parts for its very first episodes on January 27th and February 3rd, 1956, and which we showcased here. As we noted in our previous Huxley introduction, and as an interesting side-note, Huxley died on November 22, 1963, the same day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, TX, though his passing was understandably overshadowed by that of the President's.

Christopher Isherwood became a famed English-American novelist and proponent of Hinduism, specifically Vedanta, which promotes the ideal of self-realization. Huxley and noted philosopher Bertrand Russell, among other notables, were also partial to this philosophy (at least during part of, if not their entire lives). Openly gay, Isherwood became friends with Truman Capote, who would be inspired by Isherwood's Berlin Stories to later craft his famous story "Breakfast at Tiffany's" based upon one of them. It was Isherwood, at a chance meeting with Ray Bradbury, who would go on to write a highly favorable review of Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, giving the young Bradbury the early legitimacy and recognition his career needed. Needless to say, this chance meeting led to their friendship.

While listening to "Jacob's Hands" ask yourself what you would do if you had such a gift. Would you do the same as Jacob? What would you really do?

(Photo of Christopher Isherwood by Allen Warren, 1973)

Play Time: 29:44