Tuesday, 1 April 2003

John S. Partington, Building Cosmopolis: The Political Thought of H. G. Wells (Ashgate 2003) ISBN 0754633837

Alongside his reputation as an author, H. G. Wells is also remembered as a leading political commentator of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Building Cosmopolis presents the worldview of Wells as developed between his student days at the Normal School of Science (1884-1887) and his death in 1946. During this time, Wells developed a unique political philosophy, grounded on the one hand in the theory of 'Ethical Evolution' as propounded by his professor, T. H. Huxley, and on the other in late Victorian socialism. From this basis Wells developed a worldview which rejected class struggle and nationalism and embraced global co-operation for the maintenance of peace and the advancement of the human species in a world society. Although committed to the idea of a world state, Wells became more antagonistic towards the nation state as a political unit during the carnage of the First World War. He began moving away from the position of an internationalist to one of a cosmopolitan in 1916, and throughout the inter-war period he advanced the notion of regional and, ultimately, functional world government to a greater and greater extent. Wells first demonstrated a functionalist society in Men Like Gods (1923) and further elaborated this system of government in most of his works, both fictional and non-fictional, throughout the rest of his life. Following an examination of the development of his political thought from inception to fruition, this study argues that Wells's political thoughts rank him alongside David Mitrany as one of the two founders of the functionalist school of international relations, an acknowledgement hitherto denied to Wells by scholars of world-government theory. https://www.ashgate.com/pdf/tis/9780754633839.pdf.
Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Liberal Internationalism, 'Ethical Evolution' and Cosmopolitan Socialism
  • The Death of the Static: H. G. Wells and the Kinetic Utopia
  • From 'The Larger Synthesis' to the League of Free Nations
  • Educational reform from The Outline of History to the 'Permanent World Encyclopaedia'
  • From the League of Nations to the Functional World State
  • Human Rights and Public Accountability in the Functional World State
  • The Forgotten Cosmopolitan: H. G. Wells and Postwar Transnationalism
  • Postscript: Mind at the End of its Tether?
  • Bibliography
  • Index

Saturday, 1 March 2003

John S. Partington, ed., The Wellsian: Selected Essays on H. G. Wells (Equilibris 2003) ISBN 9059760018 (HB); 9059760026 (PB)

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a figure of many interests and talents. His writing career spanned an incredible 55 years, and took the form of essays, novels, science fiction, short stories, textbooks, speculative prophecy, utopias, journalism, letters and autobiography. As well as being prolific and varied, Wells has also had a lasting influence on subsequent generations of thinkers and writers, including George Orwell, C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Olaf Stapledon and J. B. Priestley. His influence is felt in the genre of science fiction, in the promotion of human rights and in his ideas on world governance.

In The Wellsian: Selected Essays on H.G. Wells, John S. Partington brings together a selection of the finest articles published in The Wellsian, the journal of the H. G. Wells Society, from 1981 to the present. The volume covers a wide breadth of Wells's work and thought, with essays from Lyman Tower Sargent on utopianism, Patrick Parrinder on The Time Machine, David Lake's textual analysis of the scientific romances, Michael Sherborne on Wells and Plato, and many others. With The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The War of the Worlds, The Sea Lady, The Food of the Gods and The Door in the Wall all receiving detailed attention, this volume promises to be a worthy memorial to the first twenty-five years of The Wellsian. As well as celebrating Wells's greatest literary achievements, it explores the philosophical basis of his thought and, through several comparative studies, takes an interdisciplinary approach to his aesthetic concerns. http://www.equilibris.nl/Wells_press_release.pdf
Table of Contents
  • John S. Partington, 'Introduction'
  • Katalin Csala-Gáti and János I. Tóth, 'The Socio-biological and Human-ecological Notions in The Time Machine'
  • Patrick Parrinder, 'The Time Machine: H.G. Wells’s Journey Through Death'
  • John Hammond, 'The Island of Doctor Moreau: A Swiftian Parable'
  • Roslynn Haynes, 'The Unholy Alliance of Science in The Island of Doctor Moreau'
  • Patricia Kerslake, 'Moments of Empire: Perceptions of Kurd Lasswitz and H. G. Wells'
  • Brett Davidson, 'Wells, the Artilleryman and the Intersection on Putney Hill'
  • Richard Law, 'The Narrator in Double Exposure in The War of the Worlds'
  • Leon Stover, 'H. G. Wells and The Sea Lady – A Platonic Affair in the “Great Outside”?'
  • Bruce Sommerville, 'A Tissue of Moonshine: The Mechanics of Deception in The Sea Lady'
  • Charles De Paolo, 'H. IV / Somatrem: H. G. Wells’s Speculations upon Endocrinology'
  • Laura Scuriatti, 'A Tale of Two Cities: H. G. Wells’s The Door in the Wall, Illustrated by Alvin Langdon Coburn'
  • David Lake, 'The Current Texts of H. G. Wells’s Early Science Fiction Novels: Situation Unsatisfactory'
  • Michael Sherborne, 'Wells, Plato, and the Ideal State'
  • Lyman Tower Sargent, 'The Pessimistic Eutopias of H. G. Wells'
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Bibliography