I’ve spent much of the evening trying to finish up my brief essay on the tripods in H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds (I locked my keys in my office yesterday, so I couldn’t work on Paraphrase), and it’s actually been rather educational.
Did you know that an eighteen-year-old Wells took a lecture course from Darwin’s “bulldog,” the brilliant biologist Thomas Henry Huxley (himself grandfather to Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World)? I sure didn’t. The experience, by Wells’ own account, changed his life. You can see the influence of Darwinism across just about everything he wrote. In his “experimental” autobiography Wells is positively effusive in his praise of Huxley, Darwin, and the intellectual revolution that they achieved:
Darwin and Huxley, in their place and measure, belong to the same aristocracy as Plato and Aristotle and Galileo, and they will ultimately dominate the priestly and orthodox mind as surely, because there is a response, however reluctant, masked and stifled, in every human soul to rightness and a firmly stated truth.
That’s good stuff right there.