The George Orwell and H. G. Wells row: Gain and Loss in the Utopian and Dystopian Feud

Crook, Tim. 2021. The George Orwell and H. G. Wells row: Gain and Loss in the Utopian and Dystopian Feud. George Orwell Studies, 5(2), pp. 113-126. ISSN 2399-1267 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

H. G. Wells had been George Orwell’s literary hero. But from 1937 he became highly critical of the Wellsian output in novels, essays and pamphlets published after 1920. Their falling out intensified after meeting for the first time in Second World War London. The argument became disrespectful and abusive. In this paper, recent academic debates about how Wells influenced Orwell and who was right and wrong in their argument are analysed. The new perspective presented is that Orwell did not fully understand the complexity and sophistication of the victim of his admitted literary ‘parricide’. It is further argued that they had much more in common than their respective writing and political egos were prepared to acknowledge. This paper adopts a particularly critical approach to Orwell’s behaviour towards H. G. Wells and suggests that, following Wells’s death in 1946, Orwell may have exploited the opportunity to win an argument which had misrepresented Wells’s political position on totalitarian dictatorship and the furtherance of human rights.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


8 April 2021Accepted

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Date Deposited:

14 Jun 2021 10:14

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2021 06:17

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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