Historical Context

Optimism in the Edwardian Age
Wells is regarded as one of the most prominent champions of the early twentieth-century spirit of British liberal optimism—the belief that scientific advances have made life almost perfect and that there is nothing left to discover. At the Royal College of Science, Wells studied zoology with noted biologist T. H, Huxley, who instilled in the young scientist the belief in social as well as biological evolution that Wells later cited as the single most influential aspect of his education. His works are ranked with those of playwright Bernard Shaw as exemplary of the era's exuberant sense of release from strict Victorian convention and the belief in the escalating benefits of scientific progress.

"The Door in the Wall" was published at a time of great change in England: rapid cultural change had been taking place since the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, Victoria had ruled Great Britain since 1837. and her reign was known for its conservative outlook on sex. politics, and the arts. In the years following Victoria's death, the English people embraced the possibilities of a new, modern era.

The Schism between Art and Science
Great strides in art and science were taking place at the turn of the century. As inventions such as the automobile, the airplane, and motion pictures began to transform everyday life, the unsettling pace of progress began to affect the arts, which questioned the wisdom...

(The entire section is 486 words.)