Sunday, 30 April 2017
Review - H. G. Wells: The World of William Clissold
The World of William Clissold (3*)
If H. G. Wells had written a blog, it might have been something like The World of William Clissold. It takes the form of a six-book novel, purportedly the story of how William Clissold and his brother Dickon became rich men of influence connected to just about every influential figure from the early twentieth century. However, by far the majority of the novel consists of didactic diversions into a world view, a “Wellsian philosophy”, which encompasses everything from politics to sociology, economics to education, sexuality to psychoanalysis, all pointing towards the development of a new world order, a corporate “open conspiracy” which gives rise to a self-organising, free-market “World Republic” independent of inward-looking national interests. It showcases the progressive ideas of its time, some of which would still be regarded as progressive today. It requires real perseverance to follow it all the way through, which I managed with a struggle.
Key to star ratings: 5* would read over and over again, 4* enjoyed it a lot and would recommend, 3* enjoyable/interesting, 2* didn't enjoy, 1* gave up.