Item #15374 JOAN AND PETER. The Story of an Education. H. G. Wells.
JOAN AND PETER. The Story of an Education.

JOAN AND PETER. The Story of an Education.

[inscribed by Stephen Vincent Benét] New York: The Macmillan Company, 1918. 6 pp undated ads. Original red cloth.

First American Edition of this novel published a few months before the Armistice.

It was an unpleasant book, turgid, didactic and cantankerous: one critic called it a "hymn of hate." It covered the years from 1893 to 1918, and though it was notionally the story of the education of Joan and Peter the book was dominated by the sour-tempered diatribes of Oswald, the scientist, empire-builder and educator. Oswald is a disappointed man, who vents his spleen on everything and everyone... H.G. had been living through a world disaster, and after four years his accumulated resentment at the "uneducated blockheads" who had caused it -- and who still refused to heed his warnings -- poured out in a torrent of recrimination [Mackenzie].

Near-fine condition (spine gilt dull as usual for this wartime book, rear endpaper cracked). See Wells Soc. 69 and Hammond A15.

This copy is inscribed by the American poet and author Stephen Vincent Benét (1898-1943), who was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry (in 1929 for his epic Civil War poem "John Brown's Body," and posthumously in 1944 for the initial (only) volume of his Western expansion saga "Western Star": he also won the O. Henry prize three times, including for "The Devil and Daniel Webster"). The inked inscription reads "Teresa from Stephen | Christmas 1918 | As an ------ Awful | Warning for a Parent | who needs none." In 1912 Teresa Thompson (sister of the novelist / columnist Kathleen Thompson Norris) had married Stephen's older brother William Rose Benét (who would also win a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and who founded and edited The Saturday Review of Literature); after bearing three children, she died just months after this inscription due to the Spanish Influenza epidemic -- after which William married poet / novelist Elinor Wylie. A curious association of major contemporary writers -- H.G. Wells and the Benét / Thompson families; interestingly, Wells and Benét do occasionally turn up together in science fiction anthologies. Item #15374

Price: $275.00

See all items by