The War Of The Worlds Essay Research — страница 2

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story was a sensible one. It enabled him to write a number that were very good and several that were masterly. His theory of the novel was different. His early novels, which he had written to earn a living, did not accord with it and he spoke of them slightingly. His notion was that the function of the novelist was to deal with the pressing problems of the day and to persuade the reader to adopt the views for the betterment of the world which he, H. G., held. He was fond of likening the novel to a woven tapestry of varied interest, and he would not accept my objection that after all a tapestry has unity. The artist who designed it has given it form, balance, coherence and arrangement. It is not a jumble of unrelated items. His later novels, are, if not, as he said, unreadable, at

least difficult to read with delight. You begin to read them with interest, but as you go on you find your interest dwindle and it is only by an effort of will that you continue to read. I think Tono Bungay is generally considered his best novel. It is written with his usual liveliness, though perhaps the style is better suited to a treatise than to a novel, and the characters are well presented. He has deliberately avoided the suspense which most novelists attempt to create and he tells you more or less early on what is going to happen. His theory of the novelist’s function allows him to digress abundantly, which, if you are interested in the characters and their behaviour, can hardly fail to arouse in you some impatience…. I think that is why his novels are less

satisfactory than one would have liked them to be. The people he puts before you are not individuals, but lively and talkative marionettes whose function it is to express the ideas he was out to attack or to defend. They do not develop according to their dispositions, but change for the purposes of the theme. It is as though a tadpole did not become a frog, but a squirrel–because you had a cage that you wanted to pop him into. H. G. seems often to have grown tired of his characters before he was halfway through and then, frankly discarding any attempt at characterisation, he becomes an out-and-out pamphleteer. One curious thing that you can hardly help noticing if you have read most of H. G.’s novels is that he deals with very much the same people in book after book. He

appears to have been content to use with little variation the few persons who had played an intimate part in his own life. He was always a little impatient with his heroines. He regarded his heroes with greater indulgence. He had of course put more of himself in them; most of them in fact are merely himself in a different guise. Trafford in Marriage is indeed the portrait of the man H. G. thought he was, added to the man he would have liked to be…. The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater on Halloween, 1938–in which the Martians land in New Jersey instead of suburban London–threw many listeners into a panic. The novel was updated again for the George Pal movie version in 1953, which had spectacular special effects for that time. The War of the Worlds marks

the end of the first, most satisfactory phase of Wells’s literary career. With his move, late in 1897, to a larger house in Worcester Park, Surrey, where he could exercise his remarkable talent for entertaining guests, Wells began trying to live up to what he saw as his responsibilities as a public figure. His fiction shows an increased concern to supply positive conclusions for the issues it raises. enormously effective The War of the Worlds …. In plot and fictional technique it bears some resemblance to Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year: both novels are offered as eyewitness accounts of a great disaster which befalls mankind and particularly the inhabitants of London. In each case the disaster had a special topical interest at the time of publication: an outbreak of

the plague in 1720 in Marseilles set Londoners to recalling the horror of 1665, while in the 1890’s popular interest in Mars as the abode of life was, because of Schiaparelli’s earlier discovery of the “canals,” so intense that it at times amounted to a mania. At the same time this interest combines with a fascination for stories of an invasion of England which began, as I. F. Clarke has shown in Voices Prophesying War, with Sir George Chesney’s “Battle of Dorking” (1872)…. Much more important for our purposes than the story of menace is the second category of Wellsian attack on human complacency, in which Huxleyan cosmic pessimism generates images and ideas central to the twentieth-century anti-utopian tradition. The major works in this “cosmic pessimism”