Saturday, September 24, 2011

H. G. Wells

[I]t seemed to him now that life had never begun for him, never!  It was if his soul had been cramped and his eyes bandaged from the hour of his birth.  Why had he lived such a life?  Why had he submitted to things, blundered into things?  Why had he never insisted on the things he thought beautiful and the things he desired, never sought them, fought for them, taken any risk for them, died rather than abandon them?  They were the things that mattered.  Safety did not matter.  A living did not matter unless there were things to live for . . .
From his 1910 novel, The History of Mr. Polly, which I highly recommend.  (Mr. Polly and I have a lot in common -- for example, our love of bicycles.)

Wells is remembered today mostly for his science-fiction novels (including The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, and The War of the Worlds) but he wrote a number of novels that focused on lower-middle-class life and social change, as well as a bestselling three-volume history of the world.

Wells was in Warren Beatty's league when it came to the ladies.  He married his cousin when he was 25, but left her a few years later to marry one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins.  She and Wells stayed married until her death despite his numerous affairs (some of which she knew about) -- his paramours included the American birth-control activist Margaret Sanger.  He had children out of wedlock with writer Amber Reeves and novelist Rebecca West. 

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