Considered one of the fathers of science fiction, H. G. Wells (1866–1946) brought enormous inventiveness and an underlying social vision and moral concern to his strange tales and bizarre imaginings. A student of Darwinian biology, he formed his romantic conceptions of the scientific world at an early age.
This novel, one of his first forays into the science fiction genre, concerns a mad surgeon-turned-vivisectionist who, in his laboratory on a remote island, performs ghoulish experiments in an attempt to transform animals into men, with monstrous results. It is one of Wells' earliest and most sinister personifications of the scientific quest to control and manipulate the natural world, and, ultimately, human nature itself.
First published in 1896, The Island of Dr. Moreau has intrigued and horrified readers for generations. It will gain legions of new fans in this inexpensive Dover edition.
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About the Author
A pioneer of science fiction, H. G. Wells (1866-1946) wrote thrilling adventures about time travel, space exploration, alien invasion, and scientific experiments gone awry. His tales of obsession, revelation, and discovery remain compellingly readable and relevant.
Date of Birth:September 21, 1866
Date of Death:August 13, 1946
Place of Birth:Bromley, Kent, England
Place of Death:London, England
Education:Normal School of Science, London, England
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Excerpted from "The Island of Dr. Moreau"
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Table of Contents
CHAPTER THE FIRST - In the Dingey of the "Lady Vain",
CHAPTER THE SECOND - The Man who was going Nowhere,
CHAPTER THE THIRD - The Strange Face,
CHAPTER THE FOURTH - At the Schooner's Rail,
CHAPTER THE FIFTH - The Landing on the Island,
CHAPTER THE SIXTH - The Evil-looking Boatmen,
CHAPTER THE SEVENTH - The Locked Door,
CHAPTER THE EIGHTH - The Crying of the Puma,
CHAPTER THE NINTH - The Thing in the Forest,
CHAPTER THE TENTH - The Crying of the Man,
CHAPTER THE ELEVENTH - The Hunting of the Man,
CHAPTER THE TWELFTH - The Sayers of the Law,
CHAPTER THE THIRTEENTH - A Parley,
CHAPTER THE FOURTEENTH - Doctor Moreau Explains,
CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH - Concerning the Beast Folk,
CHAPTER THE SIXTEENTH - How the Beast Folk tasted Blood,
CHAPTER THE SEVENTEENTH - A Catastrophe,
CHAPTER THE EIGHTEENTH - The Finding of Moreau,
CHAPTER THE NINETEENTH - Montgomery's "Bank Holiday",
CHAPTER THE TWENTIETH - Alone with the Beast Folk,
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FIRST - The Reversion of the Beast Folk,
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-SECOND - The Man Alone,
DOVER THRIFT EDITIONS,
Reading Group Guide
1. At the time The Island of Dr. Moreau was published, Wells had gained success with The Time Machine. However, critics felt the plot of Dr. Moreau was just as unbelievable as that of The Time Machine. While time travel is, and always was, pure science fiction, the late 1800s did see many medical breakthroughs. Why would it be so hard for Wells’s audience to believe in biological engineering?
2. In the Foreword, Peter Straub speaks of the text being “at war with itself,” with the result that the narrative is tense and multi-layered. Do you agree with this assessment?
3. Notice the many stylesof language throughout the novel: Prendick’s continual misreading of sounds and explanations, the Beast Folk’s slurring speech, Moreau’s bumbling excuse for his experiments, and so on. How does Wells use these variations in language? Is his use of variations a comment on society or merely a literary device to further the plot?
4. Consider the strange litany the Beast Folk recite in chapter 12. What is Wells saying about religion? Is this strange religion positive or negative, and if positive, whom does it benefit the creatures or their master?
5. Look at the three men in the novel. Compare Prendick’s mannerisms with those of Montgomery and Moreau throughout the book. What do each man's mannerisms say about him? Do the mannerisms help or hinder each man throughout the action?
6. Wells was an educated man and studied under the famous scientist T. H. Huxley. Both men fully supported Darwin’s theory of evolution. Why, then, did Wells write a novel that seems to view science, and scientific experimentation, as a threat to society?