8: H.G. Wells and the Birth of Modern SF.

As one of the first popularisers of SF, H.G. Wells offered a number of utopian visions that existed in dialogue with his own views and with the wider context in which his works were written and read. This week will consider the context and nature of fin-de-siècle utopian thought through Wells, his visions of the future, his predilection for eugenics, and the (static and/or dynamic) relationship between those texts and the contemporary world.

Required Reading:

Any Wells Utopia or Dystopia, particularly The Time Machine.

H.G. Wells, ‘The World Set Free’, on Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1059

John S. Partington, ‘The Time Machine and A Modern Utopia: The Static and Kinetic Utopias of Early H.G. Wells’, Utopian Studies 13.2 (2002).

Further Reading:

Christopher Innes, ‘Utopian Apocalypses: Shaw, War, and H.G. Wells’, Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, 23 (2003).

Robert Crossley, ‘The First Wellsians: A Modern Utopia and its Early Disciples’, English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 54.4 (2011).

Helen Kingstone, ‘A Leap of Faith: Abbott, Bellamy, Morris, Wells and the Fin-de-Siècle Route to Utopia’, English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920, 60.1 (2016).

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