Herbert Wells

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Herbert Wells : biography

21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946

By that time Jane had given birth to two sons – in 1901 George was born, and in 1905 Frank was born. Children made Wells happy, he loved playing with them and even created his own system of bringing up. But he lost interest to his wife, and, though he didn’t want to divorce, he started to seek happiness on the side. The first “happiness” was a young writer Violet Hant. The next was his wife’s friend, Dorothy Richardson. It is curious, that Dorothy was guided exclusively with noble motives – he wished to help Jane to arrange relationships with her husband and she was very insulted that Wells wasn’t interested in her as an interlocutor. It was the truth – the writer appreciated only blond hair and plump figure. But he found many virtues in his wife: she didn’t prevented him from entertainments, brought his children up, made comfort and order at home… Incidentally, Herbert turned out to be an unfaithful husband, but a grateful son. He allowed himself to talk about them with causticity, despised their views, but didn’t leave them in poverty. When he became a famous and successful writer, he kept his parents and was very generous.

On the one of “Fabian” meetings Wells met his next lover. Amber Rieves by leaps and bounds flied the way from socialistic conversations with the writer to his bed and soon told him that she was pregnant. Wells’ daughter Anna-Jane was born in France, where Wells quickly took his lover, and he, regretting, returned in his comfortable Victorian house. In that Fabian society the writer got interested in the club member’s daughter, but Rozamunda Bland was too young, and Wells was threatened with a scandal. In 1913 the writer started a very serious affair, which lasted for ten years. Rebecca West also gave birth to a child – a boy Antony, and it was the only woman, who tried to marry Wells. Though, he reacted on her statement with the burst of fury, which was characteristic for Wells. The writer didn’t stand women who took the initiative.

The first World War brought a serious artistic crisis for Herbert Wells. Though, at the start of it he visited Russia and wrote series of articles about problems of wartime. These articles, which reflected sentiment of English intellectuals, were published later as an independent book, which was called “The War, which will End Wars”. In 1917 Wells started to work in the League of Nations (Investigation committee), and in 1920 he visited Russia again and met Lenin in Moscow. His impressions about the revolution and its leaders were written in five big articles, which formed the book “Russia in the Shadows”. But the crisis lasted for a long time – only in 1926 the new Wells’ novel “The World of William Clissold” was published.

In 1924 Wells broke up with Rebecca, and her place was occupied with Odetta Ken, a young Dutch woman, a very ordinary and scandalous woman. Nevertheless, Wells presented her a house in France. He was practically sixty years old, and the writer perfectly understood that he got in the net of a practical huntress for money, who had intentions to make a social career with the help of the famous writer. But a serious strike was awaiting him – in autumn of 1927 his wife died. During the funeral Wells was suffering and repenting, without any pathos – he was absolutely serious. But life went on. The writer went to France and lived there with Odetta Ken till 1933. It is strange, but he found the joy of love at the age of sixty seven – the last years of his life were brightened up with a Russian woman.

Wells met Maria Zakrevskaya (Mura in popular language) during the first journey to Russia. In 1920 they had a short affair in Petrograd they say that it was Mura who enticed he English science fiction writer. But ther renewed their relationships only in 1933. Mura was with Wells all the time – she refused to accompany him only during his third and last visit to Russia, incidentally, this journey wasn’t very successful. Wells met Stalin, but the Soviet leader disappointed him – he was very friendly, but took “bourgeois conversations” skeptically and didn’t agree for USSR writers’ Union’s entry in PEN-club – an international writers’ organization, which president had been Wells since 1934. In 1939 Wells published the book “The Holy Terror” – some kind of an investigation of contemporary dictators’ psychology on examples of Benito Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler.

During the Second World War the writer was living in his London house and didn’t leave the country. Mura was with him, she really loved this man. On tactless questions, how she could love such a fat, small, old and evil man, she answered, that Wells… smells like honey. But reporters were right in some way – after a seventy year anniversary Wells turned into the ill and acrimonious old man. It wasn’t surprising – he had a rough life, and his literary destiny wasn’t very successful too. The most brilliant novels were written before he was fifty years old and he understood that he would create anything better. Wells tried to write sociological prose – but he wasn’t good at it… the last Wells’ book “Mind at the End of its Tether”, which he wrote a year before the death, was full of pessimism about the future of our civilization.

Herbert Wells died on the 13th of August in 1946. After cremation his sons took the urn with his ashes to the island White, where they put to sea on the boat and scatters ashes in English channel, as their father wished. The writer didn’t forget anybody in his last wish- even distant relatives. He left a hundred thousand dollars to Maria Zakrevskaya, and rights for books and the London house were shared between the writer’s children and grand children.