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246 (THE DESERT DAISY and the Bennett, Gissing, and James correspondence), such recent Wells studies as W. Warren Wagar's H. G. WELLS AND THE WORLD STATE (1961) and Bernard Bergonzi's THE EARLY H. G. WELLS (1961), and important articles concerning Wells by such notable scholars as Gordon N. Ray. Letters from Bennett to Wells are quoted from Reginald Pound's ARNOLD BENNETT (1952) rather than from Harris Wilson's more recent ARNOLD BENNETT AND H. G. WELLS (I960), which is complete and more accurate in minor matters of capitalization and indentation. The section on Wells's orginality or plagiarism would have benefited greatly from a consideration of Bernard Bergonzi's work In THE EARLY H. G. WELLS. Another defect of Raknem's study is the lack of an index. The table of contents is not sufficiently detailed to serve as index. H. G. WELLS AND HIS CRITICS is filled with information that should be referred to in future considerations of Wells, but without an index its usefulness Is cut in half. One may suspect that many of the defects and weaknesses of Raknem's book stem from its origin as a dissertation submitted to the University of London in 1955, titled "H. G. Wells's Fiction from 1887 to 1920 In the Light of the Literary Criticism of His Age." Though the present reviewer has not been able to make a detailed comparison of the texts of the dissertation and H. G. WELLS AND HIS CRITICS, a comparison of the tables of contents shows that the outline of Raknem's dissertation and his book are nearly identical, with only minor sections ommitted and with only minor changes in the section and chapter headings. It appears that Raknem has published a 1955 dissertation with very little attempt at rewriting, revising or updating. The result is far from pleasing and proof that dissertations, unless of exceptional genius, should be carefully reworked before publication in book form. Besides Raknem's critical commentaries, the most impressive aspect of H. G. WELLS AND HIS CRITICS is the extensive bibliography of books, reviews, and articles about Wells on pages 435-71. Though a spot check of a journal like THE ACADEMY shows that Raknem omits some minor reviews, this bibliography of writings about Wells is the most exhaustive that has appeared in print. This bibliography alone ¡s a valuable tool for Wells scholarship, and Raknem must be commended for drawing together and listing so many references about H. G. Wells. Purdue University E. S. Lauterbach 3. The Life and the Works: Jacob Korg's George Gissing. Jacob Korg. GEORGE GISSING: A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY. University of Washington Press, 1963. $6.75. Scarcely a decade ago literary historians uniformly complained that George Gissing's family had so long and so effectively withheld information about the novelist's life that a satisfactory appraisal of his literary achievements was impossible. But in the last ten years several articles and books have cleared up discrepancies in his biography by resolving disputes concerning his relationships with his family and friends, and by printing dozens of letters with valuable notes 247 and introductions. If two or three collections of letters remain unpublished, they are not unavailable; moreover, we already have excerpts that are sufficient for historians and critics wishing to evaluate Gissing's literary contribution. Jacob Korg's GEORGE GISSING: A CRITICAL BIOGRAPHY is a'highly successful book despite the many scars from the hacking and revising and cutting inflicted during the years when the manuscript waited to be set in type. That Professor Korg was compelled to make deletions and alterations whenever other books concerning Gissing were published is as much apparent in the omissions as in the footnotes. Thus, he has clearly played down Gissing's correspondence with Eduard Bertz and H. G. WeMs, inasmuch as these letters were published, along with excellent introductions, during the last year or two. Nevertheless, Professor Korg establishes numerous details of Gissing's biography with reliable documentation, and he discriminates carefully between fact and surmise. This is particularly true in the accounts of Gissing's family matters, as he supplements and corrects Dr. Donnelly's GEORGE GISSING: GRAVE COMEDIAN. When his annotation occasionally...


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pp. 246-248
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Will Be Archived 2021
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