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Great Literature

H.G. Wells And His Works

H.G. Wells
1866 - 1946

Herbert George was born on the 21st of September in 1866 to Joseph Wells and Sarah Neal. Joseph was a professional cricket player and shopkeeper. His wife used to be a maid before they were married, but continued in this trade as they needed the income. They were by no means rich or well off, but they were a bit better than most at the time.

When Herbert was only 8 years of age, he broke his leg. Unable to play around as normal children do, he spent his free time reading which became a strong passion through his lifetime. Later that year he entered the Academy of Thomas Morley. It was his love of reading that would later propel his interest in writing.

Ironically, his father also had an accident which broke his leg a few years later. Unlike the mixed blessing for Herbert, this became a curse for the whole family. Joseph could no longer play cricket and his income from being a shopkeeper was not enough to support his family.

As the Wells family was going through hard times, each of the sons had to find means to help support themselves and took on apprenticeship opportunities to learn a skill and earn money. For 3 years, Herbert worked as a draper, but hated every moment of it. This became his inspiration for the novel Kipps. Eventually, his employer let him go in this mutually unsatisfying relationship.

Later he became a teacher at Midhurst Grammar school. Eventually he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science in London to study biology with an allowance of 21 shillings a week. He did not have much money, but at least he had a place to live. He stayed with his aunt Mary and fell in love with his cousin Isabel. He had a short term marriage to his cousin and later married Amy Robbins, one of his students.

Wells' first bestseller was Anticipations, subtitle "An Experiment in Prophecy" published in 1901.

His early works - The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds and are often thought of as being influenced by the works of Jules Verne. Other novels which have received critical acclaim, including the satire on Edwardian advertising Tono-Bungay and Kipps.

Wells also wrote non-fiction. His classic two-volume work The Outline of History (1920) set a new standard and direction for popularised scholarship.

Herbert was starting to play around with the ideals of Socialism and Communism as well as toying with the idea that of whether man is made by nurture or nature. These trends can be seen in his work. Many of his books deals with an ideal Utopia society sometimes which can never really be achieved. He was also a vegetarian.

He became disillusioned with Communism when witnessing for himself the Bolsheviks have made the whole experiment go wrong. What should have been an ideal place where all mankind had all of their basic needs tended by the government turned out to be a tedious mill with a one-size-fits-all type of society where freedom is discouraged.

Due to his political views, had the Second World War went a different direction, Wells' could have been killed as his name appeared high on the list of intellects and politicians who were guilty of the crime of being a socialist.

After the war, his popularity began to wane as his new works tended to be more preachy and less about a story that was full of the same vigorous imagination.

Herbert George Wells died 13, August 1946. His last words were, "I'm all right".