"AMONG HIS FIVE OR SIX BEST BOOKS": LOVE AND MR. LEWISHAM, 1900 FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED BY H.G. WELLS TO HIS SCIENTIFIC ADVISER AND FRIEND SIR RICHARD GREGORY
WELLS, H.G. Love and Mr. Lewisham. London and New York: Harper & Brothers, 1900. Octavo, original red cloth, uncut. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $4500.
First published edition (preceded only by a New York copyright edition earlier the same year), presentation-association copy inscribed by H.G. Wells to Richard Arman Gregory, a close friend who served as his scientific advisor, "To R.A. Gregory from H.G. Wells, and the Lord bless & keep him."
Wells' first novel with autobiographical overtones, Love and Mr. Lewisham centers on a young schoolteacher whose life is upended due to an illicit love affair. Wells considered it one of his best efforts; "both author and many of his critics combine in agreeing that Love and Mr. Lewisham is among his five or six best books" (G.H. Wells 17). First printed serially in The Weekly Times in 1899-1900. Preceded by a New York copyright edition, produced in wrappers and not offered for sale. With tipped-in slip before the title page containing the half title used in the New York editions and a quotation from Francis Bacon. Currey, 420. Inscribed to noted British scientist and Wells' lifelong friend Sir Richard Arman Gregory. Gregory "compared the work to Jude the Obscure with its theme of hopes thwarted by sexual demands and jealousy" (Smith, H.G. Wells: Desperately Mortal, 208). In Wells' first work of fiction, he dedicated the work to Gregory as his "dearest friend." 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." 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).
Scattered light foxing to text; faded spine with a bit of foxing, gilt bright. An extremely good copy with excellent provenance.