The Early H.G.Wells

The Early H.G.Wells: A Study of the Scientific Romances

BERNARD BERGONZI
Series: Heritage
Copyright Date: 1961
Pages: 226
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt15jjcv6
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  • Book Info
    The Early H.G.Wells
    Book Description:

    This is a sensitive study of Wells' imaginative development during his formative years.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5686-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. CHAPTER I H. G. WELLS AND THE ‘FIN DE SIÈCLE’
    (pp. 1-22)

    H. G. WELLS died in 1946 at the age of eighty. He was so much a man of the twentieth century that it is hard to believe that he started his literary career in the middle of the eighteen-nineties. The author of theOutline of HistoryandThe Shape of Things to Come appears, at first sight, to have nothing in common with the world ofThe Green CarnationandThe Yellow Book. Wells, the tireless designer of scientific utopias, rather despised art, while the men of the nineties lived for it. The robust creator of Kipps and Mr Polly...

  5. CHAPTER II FROM ‘THE CHRONIC ARGONAUTS’ TO ‘THE TIME MACHINE’
    (pp. 23-61)

    Wells’s personal and literary career up to 1895 was adequately and succinctly summed up in a letter written in that year to Grant Richards. (Richards had accepted a short story by Wells, ‘The Argonauts of the Air’, forPhil May’s Annual, and had asked the author for some facts about himself):

    It’s awfully good of you to go writing up a reputation for me, and I very gladly do what you ask of me. I was born at a place called Bromley in Kent, a suburb of the damnedest, in 1866, educated at a beastly little private school there until...

  6. CHAPTER III THE SHORT STORIES
    (pp. 62-88)

    In addition toThe Chronic ArgonautsWells published a number of shorter stories in theScience Schools Journal. During the next few years, when most of his time was taken up with tutoring, he appears to have abandoned writing stories, together with most other forms of literary activity. But early in 1894, when he had become a free-lance journalist, he was contributing stories toTruthand theSt James’s Gazette. The success of Kipling had helped to make the short story something of a fashionable form; there was ample room for such pieces in the sizeable weekly and daily papers...

  7. CHAPTER IV ‘THE WONDERFUL VISIT’, ‘THE ISLAND OF DR MOREAU’, AND ‘THE INVISIBLE MAN’
    (pp. 89-122)

    During the summer of 1895, in the months following the publication ofThe Time Machine, Wells was at work simultaneously on two more novel-length romances,The Wonderful VisitandThe Island of Dr Moreau, and was soon to start writing a fourth,The War of the Worlds.

    WhenThe Wonderful Visitappeared in October 1895, the contemporary reception was, on the whole, favourable, though the precise nature of Wells’s talent and artistic intentions was clearly puzzling to some readers. This fanciful account of the sudden descent of an angel into a quiet Sussex village was certainly in a very different...

  8. CHAPTER V ‘THE WAR OF THE WORLDS’
    (pp. 123-139)

    In my opinion,The War of the Worldsis, afterThe Time Machine, Wells’s finest piece of sustained imaginative writing. A similarly high opinion of it was held by several contemporary readers. One reviewer considered that it was ‘the best story he has yet produced’,¹ and another wrote ‘Mr Wells has done good work before, but nothing quite so fine as this’.² TheSpectatordevoted a long and very favourable review to the novel, comparing it with Defoe’sJournal of the Plague Year,as well as making the more customary comparisons with Poe and Swift.³ Clement Shorter in theBookman...

  9. CHAPTER VI ‘WHEN THE SLEEPER WAKES’ AND ‘THE FIRST MEN IN THE MOON’
    (pp. 140-164)

    In the summer of 1897, when he was at work onLove and Mr Lewisham,Wells told an interviewer, ‘I am also thinking of another scientific romance ofThe Time MachineandWar of the Worldstype.’¹ This new romance was to beWhen the Sleeper Wakes,which was written during the winter of 1897–8. Wells recognized that it was a rather botched piece of work, and took the opportunity to revise it before the novel was reissued in 1910 under the title ofThe Sleeper Awakes.As early as 1903 he had written thatWhen the Sleeper Wakes...

  10. CHAPTER VII WELLS AND THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
    (pp. 165-174)

    At the time of his death, Wells had published over a hundred books; the majority could be classed as fiction, but there was also a large amount of discursive writing on every conceivable subject. The emphasis of the present study has fallen on the imaginative works that Wells wrote before 1901, and some readers may consider that this concentration on such a brief period at the beginning of his career is somewhat disproportionate. But as I stated in my opening chapter, I am assuming as axiomatic that the bulk of Wells’s published output has lost whateverliteraryinterest it might...

  11. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 175-178)
  12. A TALE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
    (pp. 181-186)
  13. THE CHRONIC ARGONAUTS
    (pp. 187-214)
  14. NOTES
    (pp. 215-220)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 221-226)