Quotes by H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells Biography

1866 – 1946,

Known as H. G. Wells, Herbert George Wells was a prolific English writer  who adapted his writing skills to many styles of literature, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, satire, biography and autobiography. He is best known for his brilliant imagination and the predictions in his science fiction novels such as ‘The Time machine’, ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Invisible man’ all of which were turned into notably successful films  and one,  the ‘War of the Worlds ‘,  was credited with creating public panic when it was realistically broadcast on the radio in America by the young Orson Welles.

H.G.Wells  was the fourth and last child of Joseph  and Sarah Wells and was born in Bromley, Kent  on 21st September 1866. His father was a former domestic gardener and at the time, a shopkeeper and professional cricketer, playing for Kent County  from which he managed to earn a meagre income.

In 1874 when he was eight, Wells had an accident that left him bedridden with a broken leg and   he started avidly reading books from the local library, brought to him by his father. He then  entered Thomas Morley’s Commercial Academy, a private school until 1880 where he learned how to write and simple mathematics,   but not a lot more.   In 1877, his father, Joseph Wells, fractured his thigh, effectively  ending his cricket career and his  earnings as a shopkeeper were not enough to compensate for the loss of the primary source of family income.

No longer able to support themselves financially, the family placed their sons as apprentices in various occupations.  From 1880 to 1883, Wells had unhappy apprenticeships first  as a draper and then as a chemist’s assistant.

In their reduced circumstances, Wells mother was obliged to return to work as a lady’s maid and she and Joseph separated.  Fortunately for Herbert, Uppark ,where his mother worked, had a magnificent library in which he immersed himself, reading many classic works of literature.  Then he  had the  good fortune to secure a position at Midhurst Grammar School as a student and teacher of the junior pupils, which meant that Wells could continue his self-education in earnest. The following year, Wells won a scholarship to  the Royal College of Science in South Kensington, , studying biology under Thomas Henry Huxley.

He soon entered the Debating Society of the college and he began to be interested in  social issues and the fashionable  reformation of society by joining  the  socialist ‘Fabian Society’.   Writing for ‘The Science School Journal’, allowed him to express his views on literature and society, as well as trying his hand at fiction with his first novel,  ‘The Chronic Argonauts’ . He left the college in 1887 and  in 1890  earned a BSc in Zoology from the University of London.  After some years teaching, he returned to study and to earn money, he began writing short, humorous articles for journals such as The Pall Mall Gazette, and for many other publications.

In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel  Wells, but they separated in 1894 when he fell in love with one of his students, Jane, whom he married in 1895 and they moved to a house in Woking.

During this period , Wells was at his most productive as a writer. He  wrote ‘The War of the Worlds ‘and ‘The Time Machine’, completed ‘The Island of Dr Moreau’,  ‘The Wonderful Visit ‘and ‘The Wheels of Chance’ and began writing two other books, ‘When The Sleeper Wakes’ and ‘Love and Mr Lewisham’.

Wells’ ill health prompted the couple to move to Sandgate, near Folkestone, in 1901 where they  had two sons ,George and Frank .  But Wells was an inveterate womaniser and with Jane’s consent, he had affairs with a number of women.  In 1909, he had a daughter, Anna-Jane, with the writer Amber Reeves and in 1914, a son, Anthony West , with the novelist and feminist Rebecca West, 26 years his junior.

With imaginative writers such as Jules Verne, Wells invented  classic  science fiction story with  such works as ‘The Time Machine’, ‘The Island of Doctor Moreau’, ‘The Invisible Man’,’ The War of the Worlds’, ‘When the Sleeper Wakes’,  ‘The First Men in the Moon’  and  ‘The World Set Free’ which placed the imaginative fantasy in the context of the current time, real life and people and the events which happened to them.  Wells also wrote dozens of short stories and novellas, as well as socially revealing novels of the Edwardian period  like ‘Kipps’, ‘Tono-Bungay’ and The history of Mr Polly’.

Being  a writer at the end of the 19th century, before many of the scientific and mechanical inventions which changed the modern world , Wells was remarkable for his prescience and  prominent as a forward-looking, even prophetic writer and social critic. In his books he foresaw the advent of airplanes, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and communication systems, not unlike  the World Wide Web. His science fiction imagined time travel, alien invasion, invisibility, and biological engineering. , and from an early date, he was an outspoken socialist, and occasional pacifist. He  portrayed the rise of fascist dictators in ‘The Autocracy of Mr Parham’  in 1930 and in 1933, Wells predicted in ‘The Shape of Things to Come’,  the world war he feared .

Wells’ earliest specialised training was in biology and he also wrote nonfiction. His first nonfiction bestseller was ‘Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought ‘ in 1901.  Originally serialised in a magazine, it was subtitled, ‘An Experiment in Prophecy’ and is considered his most explicitly futuristic work. His bestselling two-volume work, ‘The Outline of History ‘ in 1920, began a new era of popularised world history.

After an amusing game of toy soldiers with a friend , Wells sought a more structured way to play adult  war games, so  wrote ‘Floor Games’ in 1911 , followed by ‘Little Wars’ in 1913, which set out rules for fighting battles with toy soldiers. This  is recognised today as the first recreational war game and Wells is regarded by gamers and hobbyists as ‘the Father of Miniature War Gaming’. A thorough pacifist, Wells observed  at the outset of World War 1,  that how much better was the amiable miniature war than the real thing.

A diabetic, in 1934, Wells co-founded the charity The Diabetic Association ,known today as Diabetes UK.

Wells died of unspecified causes , probably a heart attack, on 13 August 1946, aged 79, at his home at 13 Hanover Terrace, overlooking Regent’s Park, London.

  • Actors and actresses as a class, our loud, ignoble and insincere.


    Actors

  • Professional mimicry is held to be undignified in man or woman and weakens and corrupts the soul.The mind becomes foolishly dependent on applause, over- skilful in producing tawdry and momentary illusions of excellence.


    Acting, Actors

  • Arraigned in what she distinctly calls 'dress', scented, adorned, displayed, she achieves by artifice a sexual differentiation prfounder than any other vertebrate animal.


    Fashion, Style, Women

  • Art, like some beautiful plant lives on its atmosphere and when the atmosphere is good it will flower everywhere and when it is bad, nowhere


    Art

  • The modern view, with its deepening insistence upon individuality and upon the significance of its uniqueness, steadily steadily increases the value of freedom until at last, we begin to see liberty as the very substance of life and that only the dead things, the choice-less things, live in absolute obedience to the law.


    Freedom, Individuality, Liberty

  • Scientific truth is the most remote of mistresses; she hides in strange places, she is obtained by tortuous and laborious roads, but she is always there.Win her and she is always yours and mankind's is for ever.


    Science

  • The contemporary woman pro of fashion, who sets the tone of accidental intercourse, is a stimulant rather than a companion of man.


    Attraction, Fashion, Women

  • The old liberalism assumed bad government, the more powerful the government the worse it was, just as it assumed the natural righteousness of the individual


    Government, Individuality, Liberals

  • All professed liberals are brought up to be against the Government.


    Liberals, Politics

  • Things made by mankind under modern conditions are ugly, primarily because our social organisation is ugly, because we live in an atmosphere of snatch and uncertainty into everything in an un-bred and strenuous manner.


    Design, Manufacture, Modernity

  • Desire, which fills the universe before it satisfaction, vanishes utterly, like the going of daylight, with achievement


    Desire, Satisfaction

  • All the littleness of the things that exasperate when the fountains of life are embittered.


    Disillusionment, Irritation

  • That life of intimate emotions which is the kernel of love.That life of intimate emotions is made up of little things.


    Emotions, Intimacy, Love

  • I know life is decent without etiquette.And people obey etiquette sooner than laws


    Etiquette, Manners

  • As a class they can think, talk and dream position.Once they begin to move, they go far and fast.Acquisition becomes the substance of their lives.They find a world organised to gratify their passion.In a brief year or two they are connoisseurs.


    Nouveau Riche, Richness, Society

  • The multitude of economically ascendant people, who are learning how to spend money, is made up of financial people, the owners of the businesses that are eating up their competitors and inventors of new wealth.


    Bourgeois, Nouveau Riche, Richness, Society

  • The tribe is always at least it offensively hostile and usually actively hostile to humanity beyond the aggregation


    Society, Sociology, Tribes

  • The natural man does not feel that he is aggregating at all unless he aggregates against something.He refers to himself to the tribe; he is loyal to the tribe quite inseparably he fears or dislikes those others outside the tribe.


    Society, Sociology, Tribes

  • Aggregations and the ideals of aggregations is the legitimate definition of sociology


    Society, Sociology

  • Man works to stand out, but not too far out and on the contrary, he wants to merge himself with a group, with some larger body, but not altogether


    Personality, Society

  • The soul of man is in perpetual vacillation between two conflicting impulses.The desire to assert his individual differences and the desire for distinction- and the terror of isolation.


    Individuality, Personality, Society