"COMPARABLE WITH THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU": INSCRIBED BY H.G. WELLS TO HIS CLOSE FRIEND AND SCIENTIFIC ADVISOR RICHARD GREGORY
WELLS, H.G. The Croquet Player. London: Chatto & Windus, 1936. Octavo, original patterned cloth, original dust jacket. $1100.
First edition, inscribed by H.G. Wells on the half title to his close friend and advisor Richard Arman Gregory, "RAGs. from H.G."
"A fantasy on the contrast between a barbarian 'presence' in the marshes and the narrator's overcivilised insensibility to this danger. The work is allegorical in intent, and is comparable with The Island of Dr. Moreau and Mr. Blettsworthy on Rampole Island (H.G. Wells Society 125). Currey, 417. Hammond B18. Inscribed to noted British scientist and Wells' lifelong friend Sir Richard Arman Gregory. In Wells' first work of fiction, he dedicated the work to Gregory as his "dearest friend." The two met while students at the Normal School of Science in South Kensington. They jointly authored a textbook, Honours Physiography, in 1891. Reportedly, Gregory was the one person with whom Wells never quarreled. A professor of astronomy, Gregory also possessed expertise in physics, chemistry and other disciplines; he wrote several textbooks and eventually assumed the editorship of the journal Nature, to which Wells frequently contributed. The author often turned to Gregory, and to the experts Gregory contacted on Wells' behalf, for insight and encouragement when writing his famous "scientific romances." After Wells' death, Gregory worked to establish the H.G. Wells Memorial to preserve public attention to his friend's body of work. Throughout his life Gregory was a passionate advocate for science—"It is necessary to believe in the holiness of scientific work," he once declared—and "an optimist about man's future" (Horrabin, in New Scientist, April 11, 1957).
Book fine, scarce dust jacket colorful with short closed tear to font panel, shallow chipping to spine ends. A near-fine copy.