Tales of Space and Time: H.G. Wells and Victorian time travel (Public lecture, 6th December)


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150 years since the birth of H.G. Wells, a free public lecture will look back at this prominent novelist of the future. Join Professor Simon James for the latest talk in the Institute of Advanced Study’s lecture series, Time on a Human Scale. The lecture starts at 18.15 on 6th December in PG20, Pemberton Lecture Rooms, Palace Green. All welcome. 

No body of writing has ever foreseen the future more perceptively than the work of H. G. Wells, and no writer has ever been in more of a hurry to establish the present in the future.

Now remembered as one of the founders of science fiction, in his lifetime Wells was one of the world’s most widely read public intellectuals, and an influential social and political thinker who enthusiastically promoted utopian projects such as world government. Wells’s political beliefs in the inevitability of progress, however, were often in tension with his scientific training, in particular with the degenerative possibilities of Darwinian evolution. Wells’s first full-length work of fiction The Time Machine sees the Time Traveller journeying to the year 802,701 and witnessing the eventual cultural and evolutionary consequences of the nineteenth century’s poor social organisation; this lecture will consider Wells’s relationship to ideals of progress in different versions of The Time Machine and across his fifty-year writing career.

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