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The Island of Doctor Moreau

The Island of Doctor Moreau

3.8 30
by H. G. Wells, Michael Moorcock (Editor)

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This is a unique edition of Moreau. The text of the first (American) printed version (1896), with appended footnotes recording all variants up to 1924 and annotations of whatever strictly needs such, takes up little more than a third of its pages. Seven appendices provide the only available transcription of Wells’s first draft, details of the emendations that he made


This is a unique edition of Moreau. The text of the first (American) printed version (1896), with appended footnotes recording all variants up to 1924 and annotations of whatever strictly needs such, takes up little more than a third of its pages. Seven appendices provide the only available transcription of Wells’s first draft, details of the emendations that he made before 1900 and reportedly intended to incorporate in a future edition of the book, accounts of six film versions and one stage adaptation of Moreau, critical synopses of Moreau's literary "children," etc. Preceding all this are almost 50pp. on Wells's life and thoughts, with particular reference to Moreau.

Editorial Reviews

John Clute
It is hard to think of a more qualified person to give us, at long last, a version of an H. G. Wells novel which could be trusted... Professor Philmus's edition is extraordinarily full.
David Seed
[T]his edition ... [leaves] the reader well placed to observe Wells's changing conception of his work and particularly to see how the novel grows out of the Gothic tradition. [I]t is important to stress what a wealth of materials is assembled in this volume.
Dale Kramer
This is a useful book for its placing the novel against its background of late-Victorian intellectual issues.
English Literature in Transition
Darren Harris-Fain
Philmus's variorum edition of The Island of Doctor Moreau is a shining example of the quality of work that can and should be done in the [science-fiction] field.
Steven McLean
"The Broadview Edition of The Island of Doctor Moreau restores this greatest of all post-Darwinian island fables to its original context. In his introduction, Mason Harris provides a lively account of the evolutionary debates that influenced the novel's construction and an informative overview of criticism to date. Appendices show the controversy generated by Moreau's publication, situate the final text alongside early drafts and Wells's journalism, and reprint scientific and literary sources crucial to understanding the novel. This edition will appeal to both those in the academy and the general reader, and is to be strongly recommended."
Eric Cash
"Mason Harris provides the reader with essential connections between The Island of Doctor Moreau and the scientific and philosophical debates that raged in the Victorian world. This edition provides vital insight that allows the reader to slice through the shadows of Moreau's House of Pain and emerge into the true turn-of-the-century horror that H.G. Wells constructed. The appendices, including samples of Wells's scientific journalism, help bring focus to the complexity of the author's vision."
From the Publisher
"A grisly Darwinian heart-of-darkness fantasy." —Daily Telegraph

"A master writer." —Guardian

"The Island of Doctor Moreau is one of those books that, once read, is rarely forgotten." —Margaret Atwood

Product Details

Everyman Paperback
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.11(w) x 7.76(h) x 0.47(d)
990L (what's this?)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
In The Dingey Of The "Lady Vain."

I DO not propose to add anything to what has already been written concerning the loss of the "Lady Vain." As everyone knows, she collided with a derelict when ten days out from Callao. The longboat, with seven of the crew, was picked up eighteen days after by H. M. gunboat "Myrtle," and the story of their terrible privations has become quite as well known as the far more horrible "Medusa" case. But I have to add to the published story of the "Lady Vain" another, possibly as horrible and far stranger. It has hitherto been supposed that the four men who were in the dingey perished, but this is incorrect. I have the best of evidence for this assertion: I was one of the four men.
But in the first place I must state that there never were four men in the dingey,--the number was three. Constans, who was "seen by the captain to jump into the gig," luckily for us and unluckily for himself did not reach us. He came down out of the tangle of ropes under the stays of the smashed bowsprit, some small rope caught his heel as he let go, and he hung for a moment head downward, and then fell and struck a block or spar floating in the water. We pulled towards him, but he never came up.
Daily News, March 17, 1887.
I say lucky for us he did not reach us, and I might almost say luckily for himself; for we had only a small breaker of water and some soddened ship's biscuits with us, so sudden had been the alarm, so unprepared the ship for any disaster. We thought the people on the launch would be better provisioned (though it seems they were not), and we tried to hail them. Theycould not have heard us, and the next morning when the drizzle cleared,-- which was not until past midday,--we could see nothing of them. We could not stand up to look about us, because of the pitching of the boat. The two other men who had escaped so far with me were a man named Helmar, a passenger like myself, and a seaman whose name I don't know,-- a short sturdy man, with a stammer.
We drifted famishing, and, after our water had come to an end, tormented by an intolerable thirst, for eight days altogether. After the second day the sea subsided slowly to a glassy calm. It is quite impossible for the ordinary reader to imagine those eight days. He has not, luckily for himself, anything in his memory to imagine with. After the first day we said little to one another, and lay in our places in the boat and stared at the horizon, or watched, with eyes that grew larger and more haggard every day, the misery and weakness gaining upon our companions. The sun became pitiless. The water ended on the fourth day, and we were already thinking strange things and saying them with our eyes; but it was, I think, the sixth before Helmar gave voice to the thing we had all been thinking. I remember our voices were dry and thin, so that we bent towards one another and spared our words. I stood out against it with all my might, was rather for scuttling the boat and perishing together among the sharks that followed us; but when Helmar said that if his proposal was accepted we should have drink, the sailor came round to him.
I would not draw lots however, and in the night the sailor whispered to Helmar again and again, and I sat in the bows with my clasp-knife in my hand, though I doubt if I had the stuff in me to fight; and in the morning I agreed to Helmar's proposal, and we handed halfpence to find the odd man. The lot fell upon the sailor; but he was the strongest of us and would not abide by it, and attacked Helmar with his hands. They grappled together and almost stood up. I crawled along the boat to them, intending to help Helmar by grasping the sailor's leg; but the sailor stumbled with the swaying of the boat, and the two fell upon the gunwale and rolled overboard together. They sank like stones. I remember laughing at that, and wondering why I laughed. The laugh caught me suddenly like a thing from without.
I lay across one of the thwarts for I know not how long, thinking that if I had the strength I would drink sea-water and madden myself to die quickly. And even as I lay there I saw, with no more interest than if it had been a picture, a sail come up towards me over the sky-line. My mind must have been wandering, and yet I remember all that happened, quite distinctly. I remember how my head swayed with the seas, and the horizon with the sail above it danced up and down; but I also remember as distinctly that I had a persuasion that I was dead, and that I thought what a jest it was that they should come too late by such a little to catch me in my body.
For an endless period, as it seemed to me, I lay with my head on the thwart watching the schooner (she was a little ship, schooner-rigged fore and aft) come up out of the sea. She kept tacking to and fro in a widening compass, for she was sailing dead into the wind. It never entered my head to attempt to attract attention, and I do not remember anything distinctly after the sight of her side until I found myself in a little cabin aft. There's a dim half-memory of being lifted up to the gangway, and of a big red countenance covered with freckles and surrounded with red hair staring at me over the bulwarks. I also had a disconnected impression of a dark face, with extraordinary eyes, close to mine; but that I thought was a nightmare, until I met it again. I fancy I recollect some stuff being poured in between my teeth; and that is all.

From the Paperback edition.

Copyright 2002 by H. G. Wells

What People are Saying About This

George Orwell
Wells was in the main a true prophet. In physical details his vision of the New World has been fulfilled to a surprising extent.

Meet the Author

H.G. Wells (1866-1946) was a prolific writer with a diverse output, of which the famous works are his science fiction novels. These are some of the earliest and most influential examples of the genre, and include classics such as The Time Machine and The War of the Worlds.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
September 21, 1866
Date of Death:
August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:
Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:
London, England
Normal School of Science, London, England

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The Island of Doctor Moreau 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very nice effort by H.G. Wells. This is a quick read that would be ideal for boys ages 13 and up. The tale is about Dr. Moreau, a scientist, who has been forced out of England for his strange experiments. His experiments consist of taking animals and through surgical processes giving them human like intelligence and form. However, his creations are imperfect and it is these imperfections that help cause his downfall. Fast paced and full of action. Also, on a deeper level it makes you think if there are places science should not travel. Moreau played God. Are we doing the same today with cloning, for example? These connections make the book very current.
Winnipeg More than 1 year ago
A very interesting take on genetic engineering. A pretty good read overall. I reccomend this short book to all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pity the poor science fiction writer. She or he builds on the scientific knowledge of the day to extrapolate into the future . . . only to be undermined by shifts in scientific understanding. As a result, the careful development of science fiction becomes irrelevant in light of more advanced knowledge. Those writers who do this best, like H.G. Wells, are able to capture some more important theme that remains compelling . . . and the modern reader doesn¿t mind all of the incorrect science in the book. The Island of Dr. Moreau is a very thoughtful consideration of what a human is . . . and isn¿t. This question is considered at the level of physiology, emotions, thinking, psychology, and behavior. If that were not enough, H.G. Wells was among the first to raise the important question of what the limits should be of animal experimentation. As I read this novel, I was reminded of Dr. Jane Goodall¿s writing about the conditions of chimpanzees in some scientific laboratories. At its most ethereal level, H.G. Wells also focuses our attention on what the foundations of human happiness are. The inhumanity that recurs in the book may seem hard to take. Be patient. What may upset you in the beginning turns out to have importance in developing the book¿s major ideas and plot. Those who are upset by reading about violence or cruelty should probably think twice before reading this book. I found myself musing about why English authors in the 19th century were so fond of putting their stories onto uncharted or unfrequented South Sea islands. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had no problem putting on a full scheme of horrors into London for Sherlock Holmes to deal with. Why were others reluctant to do the same? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise
Guest More than 1 year ago
The novel that I read was The Island of Dr. Moreau and let me tell you that if you read this book, wear a seatbelt because your going to be on the edge of your seat! This juicy novel is an excellent story of adventure, treachery and action-filled exciting thrills. My favorite thing in the book was how well they explained what was going on, and I like books like that. I would say that The Island of Dr. Moreau is one of the best books I've ever read. That's why I recommend you read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a must read book. If you are into sci-fi and like books that keep you on the edge, read the Island of Dr. Moreau. You won't want to put this down until you finish.
catburglar More than 1 year ago
An entertaining novel; a classic; difficult to rate, as it was written in a very different age from today, yet written by one of the earliest writers of science fiction.
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liquidgee More than 1 year ago
A bit disappointed with this particular publication of the book only because the description is very deceiving in that it mentions appended footnotes, annotations, and seven appendecies none of which appear in this volume.  I'm a collector of books who enjoys when a publisher makes an effort of providing a volume with footnotes, annotations and an appendix or two explaining the text and background of the writing providing insights that might otherwise be missed.  Having purchased this particular edition for this, based on the description, it was, to say the least, a bit of a let down to discover none of this was part and parcel of the work.  All this aside, the book is nicely printed, the fonts and layout are visually very pleasing to the eye making this a nicely produced piece of literature.  
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