H. G. Wells: Interdisciplinary Essays
Editor: Steven McLean
Date Of Publication: Jul 2008
This eclectic collection brings together a range of essays on H. G. Wells (1866-1946). While he is best known for his early ‘scientific romances’, which are generally acknowledged as the precursors of modern science fiction, Wells was a polymath whose varied and prolific writings included science textbooks, journalism, social novels, utopias and short stories. H. G. Wells: Interdisciplinary Essays brings together a collection of mostly new essays from both established scholars and younger researchers and incorporates various aspects of Wells’s position as one of the most important writers of the late nineteenth century and early years of the twentieth century.
The volume features essays examining well-known works such as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau and The War of the Worlds in the context of the sustained recent interest in the interconnections between literature and science. Yet it also includes intriguing evaluations of novels that have received very little attention in academic criticism, such as The Wheels of Chance and Mr Blettsworthy on Rampole Island. Wells’s philosophical outlook and his political impact are assessed in essays that include an investigation of his relationship to the American philosopher William James and his intellectual influence on Winston Churchill.
Steven McLean is a former Secretary of the H. G. Wells Society and the author of The Early Fiction of H. G. Wells: Fantasies of Science (Basingstoke and York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). He has published articles, reviews and encyclopaedic entries on Wells and annotated three Wells titles in Penguin Classics.
"This volume offers scholars an excellent overview of Wells’s lasting legacy, not only as a writer of fiction, but also as a thinker. philosopher and intellectual influence. … All of the essays in this volume offer the reader insights into or new perspectives on Wells … H. G. Wells: Interdisciplinary Essays is a fine collection that reminds us again of Wells’s significance as an author. It also highlights the fact that Wells was a prolific author whose influence should not be underestimated, and whose oeuvre contains much that has been neglected and that needs revisiting, even reassessing."
—Linda Dryden, The Wellsian, 32 (2009), 61-3.
‘If you want to sample the most recent work on Wells, this is your best resource. ... McLean’s work is brilliant (see his The Early Fiction of H. G. Wells: Fantasies of Science , based on a stellar PhD thesis), and his knowledge of the breath of Wells’s writing is impressive, the introduction leaving this reader wanting more. ... H. G. Wells: Interdisciplinary Essays is, collectively, an example of sterling scholarship.’ (Andrew Shail, Victorian Studies, 52:2 (2010), 334-7)
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