H.G. Wells: Desperately Mortal: A Biography

David Smith, Author Yale University Press $40 (634p) ISBN 978-0-300-03672-5
Viewing human destiny as a race between education and catastrophe, Wells tried to educate the world as to the evils of simple-minded patriotism, racism, nationalism and science run amok. A socialist, a veritable writing machine and self-appointed spokesman for the Bolshevik revolution, the novelist-historian who began as a draper's apprentice rejected Marx's concept of class warfare. He called instead for a world state in which rewards for bad behavior would be eliminated. Smith's biographical-critical study, stodgily written, traces the ties between Wells's prolific literary output and his socialist creed, his two marriages and numerous sexual adventures, his prickly relations with Conrad, James and the Fabians, and his feminist views. Although he never actively campaigned for women's suffrage, Wells championed women's right to birth control and, in his fiction, advocated sexual freedom. (September 17)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1986
Release date: 09/01/1986
Paperback - 18 pages - 978-0-300-04385-3
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