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Oriental point of view. So you know what it is that makes me love you so much; it is the fact that in you I see an Oriental with an Oriental's view of Ufe on most things. ... I say Go on Go on improving your imagination and with it your power of physically feeling the difficulties of another. . . . (20 December 1910) The letters of Forster and Masood reflect the deep affection of thenfriendship which the editor sternly insists was not sexual. Mr. Kidwai's outrage at this "dirty theory" is very old-fashioned: "Neither by ancestry, religion and culture nor by training, tradition and environment was Masood capable of involving himself in such a nasty position." Forster presumably was, but the editor is silent on this point. Elsewhere in the notes, however, he does not forbear to lecture Forster on the sacred order of the Koran or the real meaning of mysticism. Mr. Kidwai's Forster-Masood Letters is one of a series of publications from the Ross Masood Education and Cultural Society of Pakistan (C/5, Cosy Homes, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Karachi-47). The underlying purpose of this edition is to honour and perpetuate the memory of the man Forster so cherished, and in this it succeeds. Students of Forster should be grateful, and research libraries of modem literature will want to own it. S. P. Rosenbaum University of Toronto 2. ON H. G. WELLS John Batchelor. H. G. Wells. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1985. Cloth $34.50 Paper $10.95 This volume in the "British and Irish Authors" series of introductory critical studies follows hard on the heels of the same author's The Edwardian Novelists (Duckworth, 1982). Two of the five chapters in the new book are devoted to Wells's "Edwardian achievement," so that a certain amount of duplication was unavoidable. The principal innovation in H. G. Wells, apart from its greatly extended chronological range, is the tone of unabashed partisanship that John Batchelor brings to what is, as he states in his preface, a "work of advocacy." Declaring that Wells is a "great artist," Batchelor introduces himself as a partisan not just of Wells but of a particular view of his work and its significance: a view which suggests that, for our time, Wells is only an artist, and that the prophet of the world state, the advocate of scientific rationalism and the teacher who urged men to understand their own history must, in the concluding analysis, be brusquely dismissed. The selectivity of this critic's approach is such that, while A Modern Utopia is classified as a "bullying work" (so much for the continuing imaginative impact of Wellsian ideas!) the literary qualities of WeUs's autobiography, of his best journalism, and even of his marvelous short stories do not rate a mention. By a great artist Batchelor means the author of a handful of "works of permanent interest"—that is, romances and novels. Is "permanence" the appropriate standard to apply to Wells's works? The 220 difficulty is not only that WeUs would have heartily agreed with what Bertolt Brecht once said: "To be frank, I do not set such an excessively high value on the concept of Uterary endurance." The difficulty is also that, as Brecht wrote in the same passage, "I know no more than the next man" what is going to endure. Batchelor appeals to a tacit consensus, but in Wells criticism just now there is a striking and invigorating lack of consensus on these matters. Twenty years ago one had to choose between two dominant approaches, each of them very forcefully argued, and neither compatible with the other. Either one opted for the pessimistic, fin-de-si cle artist in Wells (with an extension to 1910 and the first bright dawn of Edwardian optimism) or one sought, as W. Warren Wagar did, to vindicate the twentieth-century prophet with bis lifelong sense of a mission to mankind. But recently there has been a spate of new biographical and critical studies, many of them not refened to in Batchelor's book (which unfortunately contains no bibUography or guide to further reading). What is fascinating is that, in essence, each of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 220-223
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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