1. Christensen, Timothy. “The ‘Bestial Mark’ of Race in ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau,’” Criticism, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Fall 2004), pp. 575-595.
Christensen begins his essay by remarking on slavery’s place in the symbolic order. He claims that the will of God is used to fill an emptiness in the real, this will is imaginary, and it is used to place slavery beyond criticism. Moreau’s desire to create a rational creature of his own stems from his desire to create a symbolic “order of rationality within which nothing will escape his imposed order and all knowledge will be transparently available to him.” (4) In Moreau’s mock origin of society he attaches a social code of behavior to religious law. This law controls the relationship of beast folk to society and religion. It is evident that Wells’ desires to create a mock origin of society and is critiquing the fundamental social structures of our society. This article ties in nicely to the concept of the primitive man and how race is used in imperialism to further progress the idea of a nation state.
2. Coupland, Philip. “H.G. Well’s Liberal ‘Liberal Facism,’” Journal of Contemporary History.
Vol. 35. No. 4, October 2000. pp. 541-558. Sage Publications, Ltd.
In this article Coupland explores the personal political beliefs of H.G. Wells and how he presents those beliefs to the world. One of the most important points he makes is that for Wells “the forces of destruction and creation, darkness and light, are best understood as a dialectical unity.” He presents an outline of Wells’ imagined political system of a “modernized state” in which the public forms a “militant organization” and renounces parliamentary democracy. Wells believed later in his life that organized brotherhoods would begin to have more of a place in our society and gradually become a common staple of our society. He wishes to create this “open conspiracy” in which the public cooperates together in a quasi liberal-facist movement. This article provides insight into the thought processes of H.G. Wells and can help discern certain ideas that are playing out in his texts.
3. Hausknecht, Murray. “H.G. Wells: A Modern Primitive,” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 9, No 2 (1950), pp. 205-216
Hausknecht begins by describing the four events that provide the backdrop for all of Well’s work. These events he outlines are the development of capitalism, the death of God, the lasting contribution Darwin made to science, and the rise of socialist movements and scientific socialism. The latter he describes as the Marxian proclamation that “society develops in accordance with discoverable laws, and, hence, the social structure may be altered through human efforts.” The article then discusses Wells’ vision for this ideology. For him the successful ideologies cover all phases of social life, and are not simple economic philosophies. This construction provides a means and end for every social action. This belief is evident in several of the novels and this article presents Well’s work in manner that helps convey his overall sense of his vision for a future ideology.
4. Lehman, Steven. “The Motherless Child in Science Fiction: “Frankenstein and Moreau,’” Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1 (March, 1992). Pp. 49-58
Lehman’s essay is concerned with the role of gender in bizarre societies, and how the advent of science is able to compensate for so called “womb-envy”. He describes how Moreau and Montgomery are like parents to these creatures on the island where there are no women. Moreau has infringed on the divine power of creation and is now able to create humans without the participation of a female subject. Wells’ theme in the novel is to condemn the arrogance of men in thinking we can overcome the prerogatives of nature. This article provides some insightful context on the situation in Dr. Moreau. I think I can pull some things out of this article but overall it will not be a large part of my project.
- Parrinder, Patrick. “Utopia and Meta-Utopia in H.G. Wells,” Science Fiction Studies, Vol. 12, No. 2 (July 1985), pp. 115-128
Parrinder portrays Wells a propagandist for utopian ideas, who began as a writer of dystopias or utopias that were ironically dystopian. His description of a Wellsian utopia is one without social instability and individual disturbance, which for Wells are the primary evils facing a utopian society. It is not an individual goal to strive for utopia, but rather a collective project. Wells works are based on intellectual constructions considering the modernization and westernization of the global world. For Parrinder Wells’ ultimate goal is to show that “social order can be upheld in a utopia guaranteeing individual liberty, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, privacy, freedom from drudgery, and control of personal property.” Overall this article provides interesting conclusions about Wells work as a writer and social activist and would provide a different perspective than some of the other similar articles I have researched.
6. Partington, John S. “The Time Machine and A Modern Utopia: The Static and Kinetic Utopias of the Early H.G. Wells,” Utopian Studies. 2002, Vol. 13 Issue 1, pp. 57-69.
This article begins by citing Wells own modern description of the traditional utopia. He marks them as distinctly different in that the modern utopia must not be a static balance of happiness won for everyone but rather a dynamic and flexible stage that continues a progression of states. The society presented in The Time Machine represents Wells’ critique of a static society and why it could not be a utopia. Wells intends the Time Traveler to be a warning to civilization about our current path, and to set the foundation for his idea of a Utopia in his next work. He creates the society in the novel and presents its downfall as being the redundancy and static nature of it, a critical flaw that Wells believes and exclaims in the novel has inklings of beginning in his current Victorian world. This essay pragmatically connects Wells’ ideas to the text and examines how the text conveys them through close textual analysis. It is an article that is convincing and helpful in terms of understanding the text.
7. Pearson, Richard. “Primitive Modernity: H.G. Wells and the Prehistoric Man of the 1890’s,” The Yearbook of English Studies, Vol. 37, No. 1, (2007) pp. 58-74
Pearson’s essay argues that Wells’ sense of culture is just as important or more important than his understanding of science when it comes to his ideas concerning the future of humanity. Wells’ in fact uses sociology to examine the cultural transition from Victorian to modern society, and analyzes the identity of the modern man to help construct a utopian future. The idea of primitivism in the modern man, most evident in Dr. Moreau, is a recognition of Wells’ belief that culture needs to have structure in order to compensate for instinct and nature. In this regard Wells’ utopia is not concerned so much with the advent of science but with the progression of a structure of culture. Wells’ is perplexed by the idea of the primitive man and how little man has progressed individually despite the vast progression of society as a whole. This essay is key to understanding the social and political critiques at work in Dr. Moreau. I think it provides in depth discussion about the primitive man and that is an important concept if we are going to understand the society presented in Wells novels and how that reflects on the British nation state.
8. Worth, Aaron. “Imperial Transmissions: H. G. Wells.” Victorian Studies, Vol. 53, No. 1 (Autumn 2010) (pp. 65-89)
Worth examines the role of Victorian literature in the crescendo of British Imperialism during the late 19th century. He discusses how these works functions to sustain a collective imagination of a British colonial supremacy. According to him Wells links near-infinite imperial expansion with the threat of extinction of the nation. He accomplishes both of these things by utilizing new communication technologies which Wells feels are the lynch pin of a British Imperial fantasy. This is evident in War of the Worlds where the heliograph is seen as the universal icon of a ruling empire. At the heart of the Martian technologies are communication and transport, which mirror the development of the telegraph and railways. Overall this article is an interesting perspective on how Imperialism and Colonialism are portrayed and critiqued in Victorian Science Fiction.