Hg Wells Biography Essay

Hg Wells Biography Essay-37
Lodge, in a previous novel, “Author, Author,” gave the same kind of fictional treatment to Henry James’s life, focussing on the notorious failure of James’s 1895 stage play, “Guy Domville.” The image of James taking a bow to the jeers and catcalls of the audience has become one of the primal scenes of modernism, and James is revered as “the Master” partly because of his willingness to wager everything—popularity, fortune, happiness, life—on his vision of artistic perfection.

No writer as prolific as Wells could possibly hope for Flaubertian perfection: between 1895, when he made his sensational début with “The Time Machine,” and his death, in 1946, he published more than a hundred books.“It scarcely needs criticism to bring home to me that much of my work has been slovenly, haggard and irritated, most of it hurried and inadequately revised, and some of it as white and pasty in its texture as a starch-fed nun,” he admitted.But he was not unduly bothered by this: “I have to overwork, with all the penalties of overworking in loss of grace and finish, to get my work done.” Nor, for that matter, did Wells believe that he had any great gifts to squander. The theme is how a scientist, the invisible man, later known as Griffin, the protagonist, used his physics skills in developing a new potion to make any living creature invisible to receive Wells makes use of foreshadowing within the novel when confidantes Griffin trusted with his plans end up going to the police to reveal his plans.Wells was passionate about receiving a good education and used his knowledge to escape poverty.Polly”; topical novels, like “Ann Veronica” (about the suffragette movement) and “Mr.Britling Sees It Through” (about the First World War); groundbreaking works of futurology, like “Anticipations,” in which he predicted everything from suburbanization to aerial warfare; and his autodidact’s masterpiece, “The Outline of History,” which compressed all of human achievement into two volumes, and sold millions of copies around the world.These are masterpieces of passive aggression, each piece of flattery swathing a shard of reproof.The protagonist of “Kipps,” James wrote, is “not so much a masterpiece as a mere born gem”; “the more one thought about this metaphor,” Lodge’s Wells muses, “the less credit it gave the novelist for artistry, and the more it seemed to attribute his achievement to luck.” A later Wells novel brought James’s compliments on “your capacity for chewing up the thickness of the world in such enormous mouthfuls, while you fairly slobber, so to speak, with the multitudinous taste.”After such dubious praise, it was hardly surprising when James took to print to attack “The Younger Generation” of English novelists, including Wells, whose fictional technique he compared to a man squeezing a sponge out of an open window.In response, Wells devoted much of his novel “Boon” to mocking James, memorably comparing his laborious prose style to a hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea.This contretemps brought their friendship to a close, but it twinned them in the eyes of posterity—so much so that it seems natural for Lodge to follow a novel about James with one about Wells.


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