Question about novel "Brave New World"

Some of the characters -primarily Lenina Crowne- are described as lupus coloured. What colour is that?

I’ve never heard of Lupus having a colour symptom associated with it, other than the purple awareness ribbons. Of course, the novel vastly predates that.

[Lupus Colored image results.](lupus colored)

I thought it was that their eyes were purple-ish, because Lupus was a side effect of working with the bottled/test tube babies.

I read this many many years ago, and at the time did not know of the disease. I had assumed then (I was in the 7th grade) that it had something to do with wolves and that it was likely to mean grey in color.

It appears to be a single reference to the faces of people actually suffering from lupus. Presumably it is not a color as such - not a color-name that you might use in another context - but just means the sickly color of the face of a lupus sufferer. (I do not know if that is different from the color of an ordinary sickly face.) As Freudian Slit says, he also mentions the purple eyes of these people, and seems to be attributing that color to their having lupus, so maybe that is the color he means, but if so, it is not very clear.

Some of you are implying that Huxley not only knew of the disease Lupus, but was even aware of some of its manifestations. I find both of those conclusions very hard to believe.

Brave New World was written in 1931/2. To my knowledge, there was not even a diagnostic test for Lupus until at least several decades later. And, until such a test was developed (and, thus, until it was somewhat readily “diagnosable”), the disease was scarcely known, even among doctors. In fact, as lupus sufferers will tell you, until recently most doctors knew nothing about it. They didn’t even know when to suspect it (i.e. didn’t recognize its symptoms). Stories of women with Lupus being misdiagnosed and falsely labeled (syphilis was a common misdiagnosis) are legion.

In light of the fact that both the existence and symptoms of Lupus were the purview of only a few, highly specialized doctors until the 1960s or later, I believe it makes more sense to conclude that Huxley was using the term ‘lupus’ strictly as a synonym for ‘wolf-like’ and was not at all alluding to the medical condition called Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

All of this without cites, and all IMHO (but as an FRCPC).

Not as such, no.

KarlGauss, I beg to differ. The term lupus was applied to facial lesions resembling a wolf’s bite as early as the 13th century, and lupus erythematosus was named, described, illustrated, and investigated during the 19th century. Systemic lupus (butterfly rash) was definitively distinguished from discoid lupus (spots) in 1904, and work was active throughout the early 20th century. The Huxley family was distinguished in education and biology, and it’s by no means a stretch to think that one of its brightest stars might have heard about the facial discoloration that was, for a very long time, the only diagnostic characteristic of lupus.

I read the first bit again. On page 8 of my book, it says “the dim red spectres of men and women with purple eyes and all the symptoms of lupus.” and on page 13: “One could see that, for all the lupus and the purple eyes, she[Lenina] was uncommonly pretty.”