H. G. Wells in Australia
Now that H.G. Wells has passed through the almost obligatory phases of being acclaimed as a prophet, vilified as a superficial optimist and then, chiefly through the efforts of his son Anthony West, awarded the medal of existential Angst for his deep pessimism, it is possible to reassess him as one of the great twentieth-century thinkers. His brave attempt to take all knowledge as his province and his zeal in fostering inter-disciplinary communication are now perceived to be qualities much needed in an age of over-specialisation. Wells's brief and only visit to Australia some fifty years ago demonstrated both the value and the limitations of that integration ofthought and belief in open discussion which he sought to promote through his writing. It is therefore worth examining some of the incidents which occurred during his visit and the opinions which he expressed during and shortly after his time in Australia, both for their historical interest and for their relevance to parallel situations today.
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