11 October 2002
WELLS, H.G. The First Men in the Moon. London: George Newnes, 1901.
8o. Original dark blue cloth, decorated and lettered in gilt (light darkening to spine). Provenance: HENRY JAMES (1843-1916), writer (presentation inscription).
FIRST EDITION. A SUPERB LITERARY ASSOCIATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY WELLS TO HENRY JAMES: "To Henry James from H.G. Wells."
Wells and James first met on the Kentish coast in 1898. That summer, Wells was taken ill while on a bicycle tour and collapsed with a fever, becoming home-bound for several weeks. James's biographer Leon Edel states that in August 1898, "there appeared at his cottage two important looking middle-aged gentlemen, wheeling their bicycles. Wells recognized Henry James... The other visitor was Edmund Gosse. They had cycled over from Lamb House to inquire about his health" (Henry James: The Master, page 58). Wells was then 32, James 55. James and Wells became allies, and Wells sent copies of all his future works to the Master. Edel continues, "This may have been unwise, for James felt he would insult the younger man if he acknowledged them in a perfunctory way. He invariably offered him a full-dress critique" (ibid). Wells 18.
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