First edition, inscribed to his mother-in-law "Pinnie," who lived with Wells during the period he published his greatest works, including THE TIME MACHINE and WAR OF THE WORLDS.
Very nearly fine.
THE FOOD OF THE GODS
"All of Wells's success in the coming decades was achieved with [his wife] Catherine's support." – Michael Sherborne
This work is the satirical tale of an unregulated growth hormone drug that effects large groups of flora, fauna, and humankind. Like THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU, it brings compelling moments of horror into a science fiction premise, a theme with roots in FRANKENSTEIN.
This copy is inscribed to the mother of Catherine "Jane" Robbins, Wells's second wife. Because Wells had begun living with her daughter while he was still legally married to his first wife, Mrs. Robbins at first did not approve of the relationship. Recently widowed and under financial strain, Mrs. Robbins nevertheless moved in with the couple, sometimes eating alone in her room to show her dislike of Wells. This development occurred during the most formative years of Wells's writing career, when he wrote and published his great scientific romances: THE TIME MACHINE, THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU, THE INVISIBLE MAN, and WAR OF THE WORLDS. The success of these novels allowed him to provide for Mrs. Robbins comfortably.
Catherine played a critical role in his early success, "taking over some of his business affairs and acting as a sub-editor who offered constructive criticisms of his drafts and deleted the unintended verbal repetitions to which he was prone" (Sherborne). Because she too wrote short stories, some scholars have wondered "whether Wells's prolific output, particularly of short stories, might be accounted for by an element of collaboration"; indeed, an 1895 humorous sketch by Wells in a copy of THE TIME MACHINE depicts her in the act of writing, captioned "Got to write his old stories for 'm now." In jest or otherwise, Catherine was the single most influential person in Wells's life during this period of his career.
A fantastic association copy in beautiful condition.
Read more: Sherborne, H.G. Wells: Another Kind of Life; Currey, Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography.
London: Macmillan and Co, 1904. Full title: The food of the gods and how it came to earth. Octavo. 7.5'' x 4.75''. Original full green cloth, front board gilt-lettered and blind-stamped in fruit pattern, gilt-lettered spine. Top edge gilt. Ads dated 20.7.04. 2 pages of ads, then 16-page publisher's catalogue at rear. viii, 317, ,  pages. Inscribed in ink on half title, "To Pinnie / from H.G." Small smudge to "T" of inscription. Just a hint of rubbing to extremities: fresh and bright, with sound hinges.
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