"I had rather be called a journalist than an artist": an assessment of the artistic credibility of the novels of H.G. Wells

Barnett, James William (2008). "I had rather be called a journalist than an artist": an assessment of the artistic credibility of the novels of H.G. Wells. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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As the perceived loser of the debate, the fallout from H. G. Wells’s quarrel with Henry James concerning the aesthetic of the novel has had disastrous ramifications for Wells’s literary reputation. Whilst Henry James is considered a hugely influential figure in the development of modernist fiction, Wells’s work is often regarded as synonymous with the nineteenth-century Realist novels that modernist novelists were attempting to usurp. This thesis will suggest that whilst Wells’s novels are clearly not written to parallel the aesthetically charged narratives characteristic of James and other modernist writers, they are written with an artistic purpose commensurate with a fictional aesthetic personal to Wells himself. Through an analysis of Kipps (1905), the first chapter will argue that whilst aspects of Wells’s fiction do suggest that Wells was committed towards writing in the Realist tradition, he ultimately strained the limits of the form in an attempt to fulfil his own aesthetic ambitions. The second chapter will consider Wells’s break from the Realist tradition in the novels Tono-Bungay (1909) and The Bulpington of Blup (1932) and will show that whilst Wells turned away from the literary establishment following his quarrel with James, he continued to write with a sense of himself as a conscious artist throughout his literary career.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4740


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