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Rachel and Her Race

Patrick Parrinder, 18 August 1994

Constructions of ‘the Jew’ in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875-1945 
by Bryan Cheyette.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £35, November 1993, 0 521 44355 5
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The Jewish Heritage in British History: Englishness and Jewishness 
edited by Tony Kushner.
Cass, 234 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7146 3464 6
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... August Bebel’s phrase ‘the socialism of fools’ as a blanket term for the ideas of Shaw and Wells. Bebel’s concern was to attack the kind of socialism, typified in a British context by H.M. Hyndman, which involved the mobilising of anti-semitic prejudices under the guise of attacking capitalist plutocracy. It is, however, with Arnoldian ...

William Empson remembers I.A. Richards

William Empson, 5 June 1980

... He was firmly unboastful, but felt it all right to praise a technique; there was a flavour of H.G. Wells. Asked whether he had slept in an igloo, he said: ‘Of course; those were the only comfortable nights we spent in Alaska.’ It was only to explain how easy the thing is, once you know the trick, that he recalled what can surely not be a standard bit of ...

Internal Combustion

David Trotter, 6 June 1996

The Letters of Rudyard Kipling. Vol. III: 1900-1910 
edited by Thomas Pinney.
Macmillan, 482 pp., £50, December 1995, 9780333637333
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... excess was to bind together the community of itching nonconformists. In Anticipations (1902), H.G. Wells contemplated with equanimity the likely disappearance of a number of institutions Kipling might have been thought to cherish, including ‘permanent monogamous marriage’. But he also waxed sardonic on the subject of cavalry generals of the old school, and ...

Nabokov’s Dreams

John Lanchester, 10 May 2018

... which subsequently turn out to be accurate. An Experiment seems kooky now, but H.G. Wells took an interest, and so did the Tolkien/Lewis Inklings, and J.B. Priestley, among others. Dunne was an aeronautical engineer and former soldier, and part of the appeal of his book was probably that he dressed his speculations with the correct amount of ...

Mount Amery

Paul Addison, 20 November 1980

The Leo Amery Diaries 
edited by John Barnes and David Nicholson, introduced by Julian Amery.
Hutchinson, 653 pp., £27.50, October 1980, 0 09 131910 2
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... There are moments in his diaries when the utopian strain surfaces like one of the dreams of H.G. Wells. Even in the middle of the First World War Amery could imagine a self-sufficient Empire immune from the troubles of Europe. In May 1915 he wrote to Milner: ‘All this harping on Prussian militarism as something that must be rooted out, as itself criminal ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... phaeton, like Cinderella, pulled by two Shetland ponies . . . complete with coachman perched on high behind . . . Best of all, she was regularly piloted down the Avon in her own gondola, named The Dream. This vehicle was specially imported from Venice complete with gondolier, until the Latin’s quarrelsome inebriation compelled his replacement by her ...

The Great Copyright Disaster

John Sutherland, 12 January 1995

Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 
by Mark Rose.
Harvard, 176 pp., £21.95, October 1993, 0 674 05308 7
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Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation 
by Susan Stewart.
Duke, 353 pp., £15.95, November 1994, 0 8223 1545 9
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The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature 
edited by Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi.
Duke, 562 pp., £42.75, January 1994, 0 8223 1412 6
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... and the answer is another 20 years of imperfectly edited (or unedited) Orwell, Greene, Eliot, Wells and any other canonical author who died after 1925. The proposed reform is particularly tantalising for scholars like Patrick Parrinder, who has been working for some years on a revised team-edition of H.G. Wells (died ...

Radical Aliens

David Cole: The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair, 22 October 2009

The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial 
by Moshik Temkin.
Yale, 316 pp., £25, July 2009, 978 0 300 12484 2
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... Ford, Mussolini, Fritz Kreisler, Thomas Mann, John Dos Passos, H.L. Mencken, Anatole France, H.G. Wells, the dean of Harvard Law School, Roscoe Pound and 205 members of the law school’s 1927 graduating class. Interest in the case did not die with the men’s executions. It has been the subject of countless books, articles and TV documentaries, it has also ...

In Praise of Barley Brew

E.S. Turner: Combustible Belloc, 20 February 2003

Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc 
by Joseph Pearce.
HarperCollins, 306 pp., £20, July 2002, 0 00 274095 8
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... In the 1920s he fought a six-year feud, and expended 100,000 words, in an attempt to deflate H.G. Wells’s Outline of History, which brushed aside Christianity and held that scientific progress was all. Next came a vicious dispute over the falsification of history with Professor G.G. Coulton, of whom it was remarked that ‘the law of correspondence with Dr ...


A.J.P. Taylor: An Unexpected Experience, 6 December 1984

... Bobby walked back unless it was raining. He disliked being observed, however remotely. He had a high fence so that I could not look over into his garden and the back windows of his house were heavily curtained. He was a considerable artist, usually with Sarah as his subject. He occasionally painted his son John, but there was not much love lost between ...


Patrick Parrinder, 20 August 1992

Past Tenses: Essays on Writing, Autobiography and History 
by Carolyn Steedman.
Rivers Oram, 224 pp., £22, June 1992, 1 85489 021 2
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... it a more authentically working-class flavour (shades of John Major?). A generation earlier, H.G. Wells grew up in a basement kitchen with a mother as discontented as Steedman’s and Woodward’s, a mother who abandoned the domestic hearth, and forced her younger son out into the world as a draper’s apprentice the moment she found an opportunity to become ...

Do Not Fool Around

E.S. Turner, 24 November 1994

A Passion for Wings: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1908-1918 
by Robert Wohl.
Yale, 320 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 300 05778 4
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... that Blériot was more popular than Napoleon. The Channel had not yet been conquered when H.G. Wells published his lurid The War in the Air, which had German Zeppelin-style dirigibles attacking the American fleet and raining bombs on New York; and, since Wells subscribed to the Yellow Peril, it also had a German airship ...

Savage Rush

David Trotter: The Tube, 21 October 2010

Underground Writing: The London Tube from George Gissing to Virginia Woolf 
by David Welsh.
Liverpool, 306 pp., £70, May 2010, 978 1 84631 223 6
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... stirring at the next station, South Kensington, where, as Kate knows, he would normally alight. By High Street Kensington, he has taken the seat opposite; by Notting Hill Gate, he is at her elbow. ‘The extraordinary part of the matter,’ James observes, ‘was that they were not in the least meeting where they had left off, but ever so much further on, and ...

It leads to everything

Patricia Fara: Heat and Force, 23 September 2021

Einstein’s Fridge: The Science of Fire, Ice and the Universe 
by Paul Sen.
William Collins, 305 pp., £20, April, 978 0 00 826279 2
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... will be available for use and the universe will grind to a halt. In The Time Machine (1895), H.G. Wells evoked this grim prospect. As his travellers approach the far distant future, ‘the darkness grew apace … All the sounds of man … the stir that makes the background of our lives – all that was over.’In the 1940s, Claude Shannon – an American ...


Thomas Powers: Stephen Crane, 17 July 2014

Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire 
by Paul Sorrentino.
Harvard, 476 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 674 04953 6
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... students and Linson’s artist friends in New York, literary figures like Willa Cather and H.G. Wells, and leading news correspondents Crane met in Cuba such as Charles Michelson, Ernest McCready and Richard Harding Davis. These are rich materials but at the same time they are incomplete and sparse. Crane was not a prolific letter-writer and he left no ...

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