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H.G. Wells as a Historian

The purpose of this research is to examine the stature and significance of H.G. Wells as a historian. The plan of the research will be to set forth the principal characteristics of Wells's approach to history, and then to provide evidence that assesses the impact that Wells has had on the presentation of history to the culture. This paper will seek to show that that impact has not been inconsiderable, inasmuch as he appears to have been an important figure in making history accessible to the mass market. Further, as a writer who came to the discipline of writing history with certain cultural predispositions and attitudes, Wells will be seen to have exercised influence on the way history can be at once popularized and made meaningful within the context of social commentary and criticism on one hand, and the conveyance of generally reliable information on the other.

Until 1919, H.G. Wells's literary reputation rested upon imaginative fictionscience fictionthat predicted fantastic societies and scientific developments such as air travel, time travel, social utopias, and world destruction through cataclysmic wars. In 1919, however, his Outline of History appeared, which was a general survey of the emergence of western civilization from the time of prehistory to the thencurrent period. In an evaluation of Wells's status as a historian, John Barker connects Wells's two careers as novelist and historian as representing a unified attitude toward the past, present, and future of social and political man. Barker cites Wells's "widely quoted" dictum that "human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe" (1:324), and taking this as his theme shows that Wells's method was to elucidate the form that that race had taken through the ages, in order to suggest possible ways around catastrophe.

What is immediately apparent about Wells's approach to history is his orientation toward history as a vehicle of social r...

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H.G. Wells as a Historian. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 22:58, June 24, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1704388.html