Show Less
Restricted access

H. G. Wells: The Literary Traveller in His Fantastic Short Story Machine


Halszka Leleń

The book offers a thorough study of the literary tensions and two-world structure of the fantastic short stories by H. G. Wells (1866–1946). It exposes trickster games in the storytelling and pinpoints Wells’s staple methods of artistic composition – the mounting of various literary tensions built upon the body of traditional, dexterously combined genre elements and innovative topoi.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



The chapters of the book have considered the two-world structure as determined by the use of established literary genres like dream vision, travel fiction, social fiction and the pretence of non-literary conventions such as the report of a discovery or a scientific report. In Wells’s fantastic short stories, the means of a character’s access to the fantastic world determines the type of tensional patterns inscribed in the texts.

The book has examined these tensional aspects of traditional and innovative literary structures in the short stories of H. G. Wells, demonstrating his underlying focus on experimenting with techniques of fiction. It has explored the multifarious applications of the principle of literary tension realized through patterns of contrast and juxtaposition, which have been demonstrated to lead to the accumulation of artistic devices in the works considered. It has also traced Wells’s techniques of redynamizing the genre conventions employed in these texts. Such a focus helps to reappraise the position of Wells among turn-of-the-century writers of short fiction in England, and to situate him against the emerging modernist movement in prose, demonstrating the trickster strategies he engaged in, which reflect his attitude to the literary art.

The insights and analyses presented here prove that artistic patterns are consistently and yet also subversively used in Wells’s fantastic short stories. While some scholars suggest that the quality of experimentation makes the short story “the special domain for the fantastic and the supernatural” (O’Connor 106), the experience of reading Wells’s...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.