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62 need for a world order is fully documented from its appearance in his earliest work through its powerful upsurg after 1914. The discussion of THE OUTLINE OF HISTORY is admirably thorough and effectively related to its author's ruling passion for the demolition of the present nationalistic world order. From A MODERN UTOPIA (1905) to WORLD BRAIN (1938) Wells' vision of the future was governed, according to Mr, Wagner, by the notion of a slowly evolving creature that would be higher than man» As V/ells put it in A MODERN UTOPIA: Ever and again..,come glimpses of a comprehensive scheme... the scheme of a synthetic wider being, the great State, mankind, in which we all move and go, like blood corpuscles, like nerve cells, it may be at times like brain cells, in the body of a man.».Even for me, upon occasion, the little lures of the immediate life are seen small and vain, and the soul goes out to that mighty Being, to apprehend it and serve it... Although Mr. Wagar's exposition of this ruling metaphor is illuminating, he owes us more than this. In his discussion of Wells' shortcomings, he should have exposed this concept as both unscientific and vidious. As George Gaylord Simpson remakrs in THE MEANING OF EVOLUTION: When the state or any other social structure is called an "organism," the word is being used in a way fundamentally different from Its use for a biological organism...Merging of the individual into a higher organic unit is not a common trend in evolution and, specifically, is not at all a trend in human evolution. The trend in human evolution and in many other evolutionary sequences has been, on the contrary, toward greater individualization, (p. 153) In spite of its relative neglect of V/ells' fiction as a clue to his thinking, and its occasional failures to expose the shallowness of some of his ideas, H. G. V/ELLS AND THE WORLD STATE offers us something for which we should, Indeed, be grateful: a scholarly review of the entire range of his social thinking. — Robert P. Weeks XXXXXXXXX A VICTORIAN PUBLISHER. A STUDY OF THE BENTLEY PAPERS. By Royal A. Gettmann. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, I960. $7.50. Professor Gettmann's book on the Bentley firm is exceptional in several ways. First, it is a history of a publishing firm and something more. Secondly, It is a scholarly book which is also eminently readable. Although, regrettably, there is no formal bibliography, Mr, Gettmann's footnotes are a goldmine of references to works on most of the major aspects of book production and bookselling In nineteenth -century England. The subtitle is an excellent clue to the something-more than a history of a publishing firm which Mr. Gettmann's book is. Gettmann also studies the Bentley papers for what they tell of characteristic nineteenth-century publishing practices. 63 The Introduction (pp. 1-14) gives the reader a brief survey of the background of publishing practice, and the first chapter (pp. 15-27) gives "A Brief History of the House of Bentley," The next seven chapters then provide densely documented discussions, written in a lively manner, of the major problems and characteristics of the publishing trade, not only specifically, and in the greatest detail, as illustrated by the Houoe of Bentley but also as evidenced by various competitors. Thus, in Chapter Ii9 "The March of intellect" (pp, 28-54), Gettmann details the efforts of the Bentley firm and others to sell the public edifying non-fiction, without, apparently, much success. The growing reading public demanded fiction. In Chapter III, "Puffing" (pp. 55-75), Mr, Gettmann provides an amusing but nevertheless carefully documented discussion of the battle between the puffers and antipuffers (e„ g. ATHENAEUM, FRASER1S) and shows that puffing in part resulted from the fundamental changes taking place in the book trade (higher payments to popular authors, rapid changes in popular tastet competition among literary forms, disappearance of the patron and the appearance of the "Public"). Authors' contrasting altitudes toward puffing are neatly illustrated by Harriett Martineau and Mrs. Gore» Chapter IV, "Agreements" (pp. 76-118) is a remarkably condensed discussion of the complexities of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 62-64
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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