1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wells, Herbert George
|←Wells, David Ames||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28
Wells, Herbert George
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WELLS, HERBERT GEORGE (1866- ), English novelist was born at Bromley, Kent, on the 21st of September, 1866, the son of Joseph Wells, a professional cricketer. He was educated at Midhurst grammar school and at the Royal College of Science, where he was trained in physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology and biology. He graduated B.Sc. of London University in 1888 with first-class honours, taught science in a private school, and subsequently did private coaching. In 1893 he began to write for the Pall Mall Gazette, of which he was dramatic critic in 1895. He also wrote for Nature and the Saturday Review. After thesuccess of his fantastic story The Time Machine (1895) he gave his time chiefly to the writing of romances, in which the newest scientific and technological discoveries were used to advance his views on politics and sociology. But he did not confine himself to fiction. His Anticipations (1902) showed his real gift for sociological speculation. Beginning with a chapter on the means of locomotion in the 20th century, it went on to discuss war, the conflict of languages, faith, morals, and the elimination of the unfit, and other general topics, with remarkable acuteness and constructive ability. In The Discovery of the Future (1902), Mankind in the Making (1903), A Modern Utopia (1905) and New Worlds for Old (1908) his socialistic theories were further developed. As a novelist, meanwhile, he had taken a very high place. Some earlier stories, such as the Wheels of Chance (1896) and Love and Mr Lewisham (1900), had proved his talent for drawing character, and pure phantasies like The War of the Worlds (1898) his abundant invention; but Kipps (1905) and Tono-Bungay (1909) showed a great advance in artistic power. The list of his works of fiction includes The Stolen Bacillus and other Stories (1895), The Wonderful Visit (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Plattner Story and Others (1897), When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), The First Men in the Moon (1901), The Food of the Gods (1904), In the Days of the Comet (1906), The War in the Air (1908), Anne Veronica (1909), The History of Mr Polly (1910).