"WITH PRAYERS FOR HIS CONVERSION": FIRST EDITION OF H.G. WELLS’ NEW WORLDS FOR OLD, INSCRIBED BY WELLS TO HIS FRIEND AND SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANT SIR RICHARD GREGORY
WELLS, H.G. New Worlds for Old. London: Archibald Constable, 1908. Octavo, original dark red cloth. $1800.
First edition of this collection of Wells' essays on socialism, inscribed by Wells on the half title, "RAG. from H.G.W. With prayers for his conversion." Presented to and from the collection of Wells’ close friend and frequent scientific adviser, Sir Richard Arman Gregory.
"Having tackled marriage and censorship, Wells turned to the economic and political basis of conventional society in New Worlds for Old, his collection of socialist articles published in March 1908… New Worlds for Old sold well. It was reprinted five times over the next six years and later went through two revisions… New Worlds insists on the importance of socialists carrying over liberal principles such as freedom of speech and information, warning that a Marxist revolution might produce an intrusive bureaucracy. Devolution of power from the center and elements of competition must be built into the system; loss of private property needs to be balanced by rights and entitlements. Despite the claims of his critics, Wells' ideal was not Stalin's but Gorbachev's" (Sherborne, 184-85). Hammond E7. Wells 34. 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). With Gregory's ownership signature on the front free endpaper.
A bit of foxing to preliminaries, spine sunned, top edge with minor bump. An extremely good association copy.