H. G. Wells (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Those readers who come to H. G. Wells: Aspects of a Life expecting a conventional biography will find both less and more than might have been anticipated. Less, because what Anthony West has written is no literary biography, discussing a writer’s creative efforts, assessing the results and placing them in a literary context. West assumes (no doubt rightly) that the special perspective he offers is that of Wells as a father and as a man. Consequently, many readers may feel that his biography of Wells offers more: a picture of a writer, a defense of a man, and a tribute to a father.
The biography begins unconventionally (as far as its ostensible subject’s life is concerned), not with the birth of Wells, but with the birth of Anthony West on August 5, 1914. The first seven chapters trace Wells’s life from 1914 to the year of his death, 1946, and the last of these closes on a note of depression.
In the summer of 1946, Wells knew that he was dying; Anthony West, then grown and working for the British Broadcasting Corporation, visited him daily. Often he found his father only half-conscious from weakness. Wells, however, would occasionally rally, and it was for those minutes that his son waited. Some time before, the old man had been told (by whom West does not say) that West was secretly a traitor sympathetic to the Nazis. When he learned that his father had cancer of the liver, West thought him too ill to trouble him with his...
(The entire section is 1971 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVI, April 6, 1984, p. B9.
Library Journal. CIX, March 15, 1984, p. 579.
Ms. XIII, July, 1984, p. 16.
The New York Review of Books. XXXI, March 29, 1984, p. 15.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, March 11, 1984, p. 7.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIV, November 18, 1983, p. 66.
Time. CXXIII, January 16, 1984, p. 71.
Virginia Quarterly Review. LX, Summer, 1984, p. 89.
Vogue. CLXXIV, January, 1984, p. 60.
Women’s Review of Books. I, May, 1984, p. 13.
(The entire section is 61 words.)