A Preface to H.G. Wells

A Preface to H.G. Wells

A Preface to H.G. Wells

A Preface to H.G. Wells

Synopsis

John Hammond offers an introduction to the life and work of H G Wells which is of interest and value to both the student and the general reader. Although Wells is studied at undergradute level there is no introductory text available as yet, instead students can only consult full length detailed biographies. John Hammond provides a concise overview allowing the student to read Wells with greater critical appreciation and to undertand the main areas of discussion and disagreement concerning the author.

Excerpt

Half a century after his death H. G. Wells remains a force to be reckoned with. He is now acknowledged as the father of science fiction, as a novelist in the realist tradition of Dickens, as the author of some of the finest short stories in the English language, and as a popular educator and man of ideas. He is studied in universities and widely read by the general reader.

I hope that this Preface volume will fill a need by providing an overview of Wells’s life and work and by placing his major writings in their literary and biographical context. I hope also that this introductory volume will whet the readers appetite for the novels themselves and bring his works to the attention of a wider audience. As we enter a new millennium Wells still has much to say to us of relevance to our lives.

He himself was far too modest about his literary achievement, saying ‘I wave the striving immortals onwards and step aside’. Yet it is now clear that in his scientific romanies, his short stories and novels of English life he made a permanent contribution to world literature and in The Outline of History and A Short History of the World he established a deserved reputation as a popular educator. The death of any major writer is inevitably followed by a period of adjustment in which his or her enduring achievement is assessed. In recent years we have seen an increasing number of critical and biographical studies of Wells and important collections of his letters. We now know far more about his methods of work and approach to literature than was apparent during his lifetime, and it is now possible to assess his achievement dispassionately. It is my hope that this Preface to H. G. Wells will be found useful both by the student and the general reader, and that it will prove of value as an introductory guide and as a source of reference.

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