Tales of Space and Time, H G Wells. First Edition, & New York: Harpers & Brothers Publishers, 1900.
You can view our first edition of Tales of Space and Time here.
Presented by Adam Douglas, Senior Specialist in Literature at Peter Harrington.
First edition, first impression. Presentation copy to Henry James, inscribed by the author at publication on the first blank, “Henry James from H G. Wells”. Beneath the inscription Wells has sketched a drawing of a club-wielding cave man—probably a reference to the third story in this collection, “A Story of the Stone Age”. Though dated 1900, the book was actually published in November 1899 and James wrote to Wells on 20 November 1899 to thank him for the gift of this and another book: “These new tales I have already absorbed and, to the best of my powers, assimilated. You fill me with wonder and admiration” (Edel and Ray 62).
Henry James and H. G. Wells appear to have met in 1898. Three years earlier Wells had, as a drama critic, witnessed James’s public discomfiture at the first night of Guy Domville, when the gallery booed the American novelist as he came out to take a bow before a fashionable London audience. In 1900, when Wells moved to Spade House, Sandgate, across Romney Marsh from James’s house at Rye, the two began to meet with some frequency. They spent long hours in the Lamb House garden or in the library, in endless talk. Their friendship eventually foundered on their fundamental differences of outlook, both social and literary, but this presentation dates from the time when their friendship was in its first flush.