H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells: (Herbert George Wells), 1866–1946, English author. Although he is probably best remembered for his works of science fiction, he was also an imaginative social thinker, working assiduously to remove all vestiges of Victorian social, moral, and religious attitudes from 20th-century life. He was apprenticed to a draper at 14 and was later able through grants and scholarships to attend the Univ. of London (grad. 1888). Inspired by the teaching of T. H. Huxley, Wells taught biology until 1893, when he began his career as a novelist. Extremely prolific, he was to write more than 100 books. His early novels and best-known books, the so-called scientific romances, are works of science fiction, full of fantasy and fascinating pseudoscientific speculations, and exemplifying the political and social beliefs of his time. They include The Time Machine (1895), The Wonderful Visit (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898).

In the novels of his middle period Wells turned from the fantastic to the realistic, delineating with great energy and color the world he lived in. These books, considered his finest achievement, include Kipps (1905), Tono-Bungay (1909), Ann Veronica (1909), The History of Mr. Polly (1910), and Mr. Britling Sees It Through (1916). His later books are primarily novels of ideas in which he sets forth his view of the plans and concessions individuals must make in order to survive. Included among these final works, which became increasingly pessimistic as Wells aged, are The World of William Clissold (1926), The Shape of Things to Come (1933), World Brain (1938), and Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945). His other works include the immensely popular Outline of History (1920) and The Science of Life (1929), which was written in collaboration with his son G. P. Wells and Julian Huxley.

See his Experiment in Autobiography (1934); biographies by L. Dickson (1969), N. and J. MacKenzie (1973), and M. Sherborne (2010); studies by F. McConnell (1981), J. Huntington (1982), J. R. Hammond (1988), and D. Smith (1988).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

H. G. Wells: Selected full-text books and articles

The War of the Worlds By H. G. Wells Signet Classic, 1986
Librarian's tip: To see a list of the novels by H. G. Wells in the Questia Library click the link to "H. G. Wells (Primary Works)" at the top of this page. Titles include "The First Men in the Moon," "A Modern Utopia," and "Tono-Bungay."
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
A Preface to H.G. Wells By John Hammond Routledge, 2014
H.G. Wells: Prophet without Honor By Timko, Michael The World and I, Vol. 21, No. 5, May 2006
H. G. Wells: The Critical Heritage By Patrick Parrinder Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1997
The Natural History of H.G. Wells By John R. Reed Ohio University Press, 1982
H.G. Wells's Eugenic Thinking of the 1930s and 1940s *. (Essays) By Partington, John S Utopian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 1, Winter 2003
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Working the Room: The Cases of Mary H. Kingsley and H.G. Wells By Early, Julie English Nineteenth-Century Prose, Vol. 29, No. 1, Spring 2002
H. G. Wells's Time Machine: In Search of Time Future and Time Past By Firchow, Peter The Midwest Quarterly, Vol. 45, No. 2, Winter 2004
"The Fertilising Conflict of Individualities": H. G. Wells's A Modern Utopia, John Stuart Mill's on Liberty, and the Victorian Tradition of Liberalism By McLean, Steven Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 43, No. 2, Spring 2007
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
H.G. Wells, Modernity and the Movies By Keith Williams University of Liverpool Press, 2007
No Place Else: Explorations in Utopian and Dystopian Fiction By Eric S. Rabkin; Martin H. Greenberg; Joseph D. Olander Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
Great World Writers: Twentieth Century By Patrick M. O'neil Marshall Cavendish, vol.12, 2004
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