EXPOSING H. G. WELLS’S DURATIONAL TRANSPARENCIES

Jan B. Gordon

Abstract


Abstract. This article deploys Henri Bergson’s concept of durée, which reconfigured the way in which time/space relationships are perceived, to re- contextualise H. G. Wells’s innovative interests in the years between 1880 and 1920. In strategically conflating transparency and invisibility as different forms of non- being, Wells enabled free ‘dilations’ from one form of emergent subjectivity to another through the mediation of diaphanous ‘carriers’. Wells’s The Invisible Man, The History of Mr. Polly, Ann Veronica, and Tono-Bungay are located within a fin- de-siècle tradition that runs counter to the solid, developmental trajectory and bourgeois search for foundations characteristic of nineteenth-century Bidlungsromanen.

This article contends that Wells’s oeuvre is more aligned with other literary, scientific, and cultural activity of the period, such as represented by the work of Walter Pater, Ferdinand de Saussure, Bram Stoker, the early Freud, Rodin. Wells retained both a personal and literary interest in the radical reconfigurations (real and illusory) of corporeal, material, proprietary and institutional bodies. His exploration of the making, unmaking, and imaginary re-making of all these bodies, enabled by sophisticated simulation(s), makes Wells a figure of enduring interest.


Full Text:

PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.