This essay investigates how H G Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau employs the
gothic trope of the uncanny. Despite Wells’s use of ‘uncanny’ twice to describe
humanized animals, prior critics haven’t explored what the uncanny adds to our
understanding of the novel, perhaps because Freud’s famous essay ‘The ‘Uncanny’
was written in 1913, following The Island of Doctor Moreau by more than two
decades. We argue, however, that both men were working from notions of the
uncanny circulating in fin de siècle Europe and describing a larger colonial
dynamic, so that even though Wells’s work preceded Freud’s, we can use Freud’s
explanation of the uncanny to better understand what Wells was doing and why the
animals in The Island of Doctor Moreau are so unsettling to readers in our time
and in his. That is, the uncanny helps to explain how the novel works as a
gothic. Moreover, by examining how Freud’s theories help us to understand Wells,
we also see elements of Freud’s essay that we wouldn’t otherwise. We will argue
that because Freud and Wells were describing the world around them, overlap is
logical, even predictable, and certainly useful to understanding both
The Island of Doctor Moreau is the most Gothic of all Wells‘s scientific romances. Wells generates Gothic atmosphere by playing the positions of the opposing sides in the late-Victorian vivisection controversy against each other, making both seem true at the same time. In its use of the agony of vivisection as a metaphor both for biological evolution and socialization, this story reveals a physical disgust associated with the process of evolution itself, the full implications of which the characters will not acknowledge. The scientific objectivity championed by Moreau attempts to suppress the psychological problems implicit in the concept of animal inheritance, which would later be explored in Freud‘s metapsychology. Prendick, the narrator, cannot resolve his ambivalence both toward Moreau and his grotesque products, the Beast People. Prendick‘s uncertainty becomes the final horror of the story. Usually Wells‘s fantasy supports a scientific world-view, but here his normative, scientifically-minded narrator falls apart in a story which gives the true voice of science to a Gothic dominator.
from those of today.
Prior to the London conference, Harvey, the US ambassador to London, issued
a solemn statement. The fate of Europe, he declared, will be decided at the
London conference. His announcement met with general agreement. The four
prime ministers then took their seats amidst great excitement, and did nothing.
So, what really transpired in London?
One of H. G. Wells’ novels is quite unusual. Its hero, ‘Uncle Polly’, is a grocery
dealer in a small English town. His store is of the old-fashioned sort: any and
every item can be found there
intellectual and practical conservatism
of the trade unions’, the central idea of guild socialism – the creation of industrial councils – is completely unattainable. On this crucial question, the Webbs
concur with the position of the Russian Bolsheviks. In our view, their plans can
only become viable if they accept the idea of industrial cooperation, as realised
in organs of industrial self-government.
H. G. Wells, the socialist11
The telegraph is announcing that H. G. Wells, the world-renowned author, has
agreed to stand as a candidate for the Labour Party. It may be that
In the late 1930s, Orson Welles already had a distinguished and exceptionally brilliant career in theatre and in radio theatre while still in his late
teens and early twenties. He became famous, indeed infamous, by a radio
play based on the science fiction novel The War of the Worlds by the British
novelist H.G. Wells. Welles dramatised the H.G. Wells novel as a radio
documentary of an invasion by Martians of the United States that parodied the form: the report of the fictional invasion was presented as a news
event taking place at the moment of broadcast
explores the alien and the uncanny in these gardens; they can be the same thing. In H. G. Wells's tale, ‘The Flowering of the Strange Orchid’, the plant, though figured as ‘vampiric’, has a wider cultural significance as a gendered uncanny presence; ‘my orchid’, as Winter-Wedderburn calls it (Wells 2013 : 63–71), implying a close relationship, like ‘my pet’, as Professor Jonkin describes his pitcher plant in Howard Garis's ‘Professor Jonkin's Cannibal Plant’ ( 2013 : 119).
David Del Principe, in his introduction to the ecoGothic-themed 2014
both reinforces and poses challenges to such
narratives. I take as brief case studies the renowned propaganda
posters about the war and Ian Hay’s The First Hundred Thousand
(1915), which extols the virtues of the training camp; against those
I set Ford Madox Ford’s official works of propaganda, which show
support for the war effort without resorting to jingoism. I then
show the polyphonic nature of wartime novels, both those which
ultimately advocate the necessity of continuing to fight, focusing
on H. G. Wells’s Mr Britling Sees It Through (1916) and his lover
The twentieth century has also seen a voluminous literature reflecting on
peace and war, which has been constantly drawn upon by leaders to feed
their imaginations and whose hopes and aspirations they hoped to fulfil.
Hence H.G. Wells or Norman Angell are as much to be acknowledged as
creators of the new world order imaginings of 1918–19 (and their
subsequent defeat) as Woodrow Wilson. Equally, it is not only literary
individuals that have shaped background sentiment upon which leaders
have drawn, it is also ideas developed by ‘schools’ of commentators and
often been thought of as a progression in
weapon’s technology, from Jules Verne and H. G. Wells to Stanislaw Lem
or Michael Chrichton. The nuclear bomb is the epitome of the ‘ultimate
weapon’, a weapon to win any war. As Thomas Brandstetter has shown,
this dream inspired many of the scientists who in the 1940s put their basic
research on nuclear physics into the service of the Manhattan Project. Yet,
already in 1914, just before the start of the First World War, H. G. Wells
published a novel, The World Set Free, about the future of the twentieth
century, in which
H. G. Wells, ‘The Time Machine’, in
Selected Short Stories (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,
1958), p. 40. The tale was first serialised in the New Review
in 1894–95, and published in book form in 1895.
Wells, ‘The Time Machine’, p.