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68 EVIEWS 1. H. G. V/ells and Two Correspondents: 3ennett and Gissing ARNOLD BENNETT & H. G. WELLS: A RECORD OF A PERSONAL AND A LITERARY FRIENDSHIP. Edited with an Introduction by Harris VJiIson. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, I960. $3.50, GEORGE GISSING AMD H. G. WELLS: THEIR FRIENDSHIP AND CORRESPONDENCE, Edited with an Introduction by Royal A, Gettmann. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961. $3.50. i Since my review of Wilson's Wells-Bennett book is to appear in JEGP, I shall merely summarize the more detailed comments I make there. First, the amount of new material is not as impressive as the total number of letters printed suggests. There are 86 letters from Bennett, 33 from Mrs. Marguerite Bennett, and 1 from Bennett's secretary as against 87 from Wells. Of Wells' letters, 23 had been previously published; of Bennett's, 17 had been previously published. Further, Wilson asserts that he has omitted some of the most trivial items, but he includes many postcards and brief notes (e.g. Nos. 14, 15, 16, IS, 54, 64, 75, etc.) which can be described as Insignificant, Secondly, there are pieces notable for being amusing (Nos. 20, 21, 22, 23, 25); there are also informative pieces noteworthy for revealing the authors' attitudes toward their art and to each other's work (Nos. 29, 38, 33, 46, 47). However, there are too few really good things, which I think results from the overall plan of fragmenting the letters to and from WeMs into these "little" volumes. Many letters might have more significance if placed together on a chronological basis rather than being separated because one is to or from James, another to or from Bennett, and still another to or from Gissing. One is almost tempted to tear out pages and rearrange the letters chronologically irrespective of who the correspondent happens to be. Thirdly, while V/ilson's introduction adequately serves the purpose of underlining the more important subjects that can be traced in the letters, he too readily accepts the convention of dismissing Bennett's later books. On the whole, this volume would be more useful if it were more heavily footnoted and if the notes Wilson gives were fuller. It is almost inevitable that comparisons should be made between these two volumes. First, we again notice that in Gettmann's book, also issued from the V/ells Archive at the University of Illinois, there is far less material from V/ells than from Gissing. V/hat we see is Gissing revealing himself within the limits of one relationship . The portrait that the letters present of Wells is again somewhat sketchy. The 104 letters are distributed as follows: 81 from Gissing to H. G. Wells and Mrs. Wells; 12 from Wells to Gissing; 2 from Mrs. Wells to Gissing; 5 from Gabrielle Gissing to Mrs. Wells; 2 from Frederic Harrison to Wells; 1 from V/ells to Edmund Gosse; 1 from Gissing to G. P. Wells. However, whereas about 40 letters of the 209 in the Bennett-Wei Is correspondence had been previously published, none of the 104 letters in the Gissing-Wel1 s collection had been published before, except for 28 sentences Morley Roberts used from 9 of these letters for THE PRIVATE LIFE OF HENRY MAITLAND. Also, the 4 items in 69 the appendices of Gettmann's bock are by Wells, whereas the 3 items in the appendices of Wilson's book are by uennett, One generalization can be made about both books: There is relatively little by Wells, not enough in each individual book to give a really solid portrait of a period in Wells' career, or of the complexity of his mind and interests, the same comment would apply to Bennett in the one book and to Gissing in the other, However, one very considerable difference, for which the editors are responsible, makes the one book a decidedly more useful., rich, and revealing one than the other. Gettmann fills many gaps in his notes. It may not be important to report (p.42) that "Here Wells drew a dot enclosed in a circle," but this commendable thoroughness and scholarly care also extends to more important matters,- Gettmann...


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