An Appreciation Of H. G. Wells, Novelist: By Mary Austin

An Appreciation of H.G.Wells,Novelist ByMaryAustin

THE very ancient conception of a genius as one seized upon by the waiting Powers for the purpose of rendering themselves intelligible to men has its most modern exemplar in the person of Herbert George Wells, a maker of amazing books. It is impossible to call Mr. Wells a novelist, for up to this time the bulk of his work has not been novels; and scarcely accurate to call him a sociologist, since most of his social science is delivered in the form of fiction.

There are people who call him a Socialist, and that, with some definition, is what Mr. Wells calls himself; there are others who call him a revolutionist; but, under whatever caption, he is distinguishedly a maker of books, informing vitalizing, indispensable books; and when one attempts to account for the range and variety of Mr. Wells’ product, the first inescapable inference is that behind them is a man of broad and specific learning.

It is not possible, by naming the schools where he has been educated, to give any notion to an American audience of the quality of Mr. Wells’ scholarship. He is not, as we understand it, a University man, but so far as his learning relates him to his time, better educated than most University men dare profess to be--a scholar of human conditions. Chiefly, besides finding out how the things that are came to be, Mr. Wells’ preparation for his work consists in living.

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