London: T. Fisher Unwin, Ltd, 1915. First Edition. Pictorial Cloth. First Impression of Wells's sham (and, initially, anonymous) biography of Henry James. Crown 8vo (194 x 125mm): 342,, with 26 charming line drawings by Wells throughout text. Publisher's dark green cloth, spine and upper cover stamped in gilt, top edge gilt; wanting the dust jacket. Title page blind-stamped "Presentation Copy." Fore-edge lightly spotted, else Fine. Wells Society 57. Wells 56. Hammond D3. Fine-. Item #BB1893
Collection of ten essays, in the second edition of which, published in 1920, Wells acknowledged authorship of the entire work. Wells and James collided frequently on the topics at the center of this work: the nature and purpose of art. "The feud began in friendship: When Wells first emerged onto the literary scene, James was intrigued by the young writer’s talent and eventually declared his admiration . . . But James soon came to lament a paradox in Wells’s writing, which he articulated to a friend as 'so much talent with so little art, so much life with (so to speak) so little living.' . . . Wells, trained as a biologist and best-known for his science fiction, considered himself above all a journalist — he measured writing by its usefulness in the service of truth. This irreconcilable contrast of sensibilities came to a head the year before James’s death, when he was 72 and Wells 49, . . . [when Wells published Boon], parodying James’s writing and depicting a paragraph of his as a hippopotamus trying to pick up a pea in a corner — a caricature crowned with the accusation that James 'never discovered that a novel isn’t a picture … that life isn’t a studio.'" (Maria Popova, brainpickings.org) N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).