H.G. Wells and the Machine in Victorian Fiction -Colin Manlove By Mark Rednour, Rebecca Miller, Kaylee Nicks
The Machine in Victorian Times The Machine is rarely used as the main point in Victorian fiction “And yet the Victorian period is an age that is most truly founded on the machine and the progressivism that its powers invoke” (Manlove 244) A spiritually reactionary age- “No accommodation of the machine to the artistic sensibility seemed possible” (Manlove 245)
Comparisons Two different “nations” of Britain North was industrialized and “vulgar”, (working class) South was metropolitan and upper class The cultured class feared the advancing of technology and felt threatened
Comparisons 18 th Century novel vs. 19 th Century novel 18 th Century: protagonist finds out about what he/she is 19 th Century: protagonist learns what he/she may become 18 th Century novels tended to focus on machines and technologies that were already well established, while 19 th Century novels focused on new ideas and unexplored frontiers
H. G. Wells Wrote in a time when many new concepts such as radio, electricity, magnetism, and particle physics were beginning to be explored Respected the power of science, and understood the importance of using it responsibly The underlying theme in many of Wells' works was that “man's inventions may not work for his betterment alone, but may in ways unknown to him work rather to undermine the whole fabric of his existence on the planet” (Manlove 247)
Scientists and Society Wells depicts scientists as being separate from society Example: In The Island of Dr. Moreau, Dr. Moreau lives on an island separated from society “Their inventions serve to make them either more independent of their environment or able to shape it as they wish”(Manlove 247)
Relativism Wells seems to move ideas into “expressing a less stable reality” (Manlove 248) Wells' theories on the fourth dimension and relativity helped pave the way for such academic dignitaries as Albert Einstein Nothing is certain; in The Time Machine, the narrator explains his theory of how the split between the Eloi and the Morlocks happened, but admits that it could be completely wrong.
The Time Machine and the Future Without the time machine, the future would have never been seen As the Time Traveler journeys through time, the changes and transitions he witnesses demonstrate the devolution of mankind. According to Manlove, “the future has retraced the past, right back from the most sophisticated to the most primitive forms of life-- in a sense it has swallowed itself” (250) The Time Machine warns against technology while at the same time glorifying it. According to Manlove, the success of technology destroyed man.
In Conclusion The Time Traveler says in The Time Machine that “An animal perfectly in harmony with its environment is a perfect mechanism” The Time Machine opens up the spectrum of time to the Time Traveler, and therefore causes the Time Traveler to be without a home in a sense. Since the Time Traveler has no real environment, he cannot be a perfect mechanism.
Works Cited Manlove, Colin. "H.G. Wells Andthe Machine in Victorian Fiction." The Tie Machine. Ed. Ed Arata. New York: Norton, 2009. 244-52. Print.