The Passionate Friends

The Passionate Friends

by H. G. Wells


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Herbert George Wells (1866-1946), was an English writer best known for such science fiction novels as The Time Machine (1888), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The War of the Worlds (1897), The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance (1897) and The First Men in the Moon (1900-01). He was a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and produced works in many different genres, including contemporary novels, history, and social commentary. He was also an outspoken socialist. His later works become increasingly political and didactic, and only his early science fiction novels are widely read today. Wells is sometimes referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction".

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781718798373
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/23/2018
Pages: 324
Sales rank: 544,763
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.68(d)

About the Author

Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 - 13 August 1946)-known as H. G. Wells, was a prolific English writer in many genres, including the novel, history, politics, and social commentary, and textbooks and rules for war games. Wells is now best remembered for his science fiction novels, and is called the father of science fiction, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.
Wells's earliest specialised training was in biology, and his thinking on ethical matters took place in a specifically and fundamentally Darwinian context. He was also from an early date an outspoken socialist, often (but not always, as at the beginning of the First World War) sympathising with pacifist views. His later works became increasingly political and didactic, and he wrote little science fiction, while he sometimes indicated on official documents that his profession was that of journalist. Novels like Kipps and The History of Mr Polly, which describe lower-middle-class life, led to the suggestion, when they were published, that he was a worthy successor to Charles Dickens, but Wells described a range of social strata and even attempted, in Tono-Bungay (1909), a diagnosis of English society as a whole. A diabetic, in 1934 Wells co-founded the charity The Diabetic Association (known today as Diabetes UK).
In 1891, Wells married his cousin Isabel Mary Wells. The couple agreed to separate in 1894 when he fell in love with one of his students, Amy Catherine Robbins (later known as Jane), whom he married in 1895. Poor health took him to Sandgate, near Folkestone, where in 1901 he constructed a large family home: Spade House. He had two sons with Jane: George Philip (known as "Gip") in 1901 (died 1985) and Frank Richard in 1903 (died 1982).
With his wife Jane's consent, Wells had affairs with a number of women, including the American birth control activist Margaret Sanger, adventurer and writer Odette Keun, Soviet spy Moura Budberg and novelist Elizabeth von Arnim. In 1909 he had a daughter, Anna-Jane, with the writer Amber Reeves, whose parents, William and Maud Pember Reeves, he had met through the Fabian Society; and in 1914 a son, Anthony West (1914-1987), by the novelist and feminist Rebecca West, 26 years his junior.

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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Passionate Friends 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
MinaKelly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a slow mover, slower even than many of Wells' other social novels, but the time it takes is appropriate to the story it tells. It's ultimately a sad novel, though it strives to uplift at the same time.The Passionate Friends (1913) is one of three books Wells wrote about social justice and feminism, along with Marriage (1912) and The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman (1914). I'm reading them backwards myself, but I'm not sure that matters.The Passionate Friends explores the relationship between Stephen and Mary. Mary's desire for independence leads her to reject marrying Stephen, since he's below her in stature. She can't see who she could have the freedom she craves if she were to become a housewife; it's impossible to imagine Stephen doing the tasks she'd be expected to do if they married. Stephen is a fairly traditional Edwardian gentleman, not opposed to feminsim in principle but unable to grasp the fundamentals and how they affect him. His intense jealousy as Mary marries a rather bland but wealthy man, who is willing to cede her the freedom she craves, demonstrates this. Of course, this is not true freedom, and when Mary and Stephen are discovered in an affair her huband revokes her privileges. I found Mary's fumblings for independence fascinating and quite sad, since she sees no other options open to her but to marry as well as she can. Stephen, like many of Wells' characters, is deeply flawed in his blindness to her motivations. Though he is the narrator (the novel is written as a memoir for Stephen's son to read and learn from), it is obvious he is not a reliable narrator when it comes to Mary. He remains oblivious to the hints she drops about her 'untimely but very feminine illness' that occured shortly after they were forced apart, for example, and both he and her husband couch their love of her time terms of possessing her. No matter how much she objects to this, neither can imagine loving her without possessing her, without reducing her to the status of an object to be admired. Stephen is somewhat redeemed by the fact he is telling this story in the hopes his son will avoid his mistakes, and to continue Stephen's question for global understanding. Though Stephen struggles to recognise that this global understanding is an understanding between men, I think the underlying message of the novel is that it cannot be just between men, but must make an effort to include women as well.As with 'The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman', the male characters struggle to understand the female, and their narration reflects this. However, one gets the impression Wells' very definitely understands his female characters and their motivations, and using the technique of the unreliable narrator in order to bring his ideas across subtly. Like trying to persuade your boss that your brilliant idea is actually theirs, so they'll implement, so Wells persuades the reader that the fact they understand the motivations of the female characters is due entirely to their own intelligence, not his.
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