H. G. Wells (1866–1946) is one of those protean modern writers who are destined to last, no matter how critics lament his slapdash prose or deplore his involvement in dubious movements such as eugenics and Fabian socialism. Not even the ire of feminists can ultimately bring down this “womanizing” colossus of concepts and causes and books (he penned more than a hundred of them), not to mention the biographies and critical studies that continue to pullulate around this seminal figure.

Wells was truly a breathtaking writer. He broke into public consciousness with his early science fiction novels, The Time Machine (1895) and The Invisible Man (1897), virtually creating a new genre. Kipps (1905) and The History of Mr. Polly (1910) retain their status as greatly admired comic novels. Even with its flawed ending, Ann Veronica (1910) is one of the first English novels to explore the...


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