• Fine Printed Books, Manuscript auction at Christies

    Sale 5829

    Fine Printed Books, Manuscripts, Traditional Sports

    23 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 74

    WELLS, Herbert George. Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought. London: Chapman and Hall, 1902. 8° (189 x 124mm). (Spotting to half-title.) Original red cloth, top edge gilt (a few stains and marks, spine lightly faded). Provenance: William Wymark Jacobs (half-title inscribed "To W.W. Jacobs asking him to come aboard from H.H. Wells" and illustrated by Wells with pen-and-ink drawing of a sailor [Wells] on a large sailing boat named "The New Republic", shouting to a man [Jacobs] in a tiny rowing skiff who replies: "Many thanks. But I got my own line".

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    WELLS, Herbert George. Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought. London: Chapman and Hall, 1902. 8° (189 x 124mm). (Spotting to half-title.) Original red cloth, top edge gilt (a few stains and marks, spine lightly faded). Provenance: William Wymark Jacobs (half-title inscribed "To W.W. Jacobs asking him to come aboard from H.H. Wells" and illustrated by Wells with pen-and-ink drawing of a sailor [Wells] on a large sailing boat named "The New Republic", shouting to a man [Jacobs] in a tiny rowing skiff who replies: "Many thanks. But I got my own line".

    FIRST EDITION IN BOOK FORM, PRESENTATION COPY TO W.W. JACOBS. Anticipations was a book of social and technological forecasts arguing for a rationally planned "New Republic". Queen Victoria had died in 1901, and Wells's confident emergence as a futurologist matched the public mood. His drawing is a good-humoured protest at Jacobs' unwillingness to join his ideological quest, and preference for rowing his own boat. Banter between them was clearly habitual. In one of his letters, Jacobs told Wells: "I think your sketches are very clever. Why don't you take up drawing instead of writing? I'm sure you could do ever so much better at it". On 13 May 1901, he wrote: "I read the first bit of Anticipations [presumably in manuscript] and I humbly thank Providence that I shan't be alive when your beastly ideas are the order of the day". In 1902, Jacobs himself published a very different book, The Lady of the Barge, which contained three master-tales of horror deftly mixed with seafaring and bucolic comedies. Hammond E3.


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