The Island of Doctor Moreau

A Critical Text of the 1896 London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices


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About the Book

H.G. Wells (1866–1946) wrote some of the great classics of speculative fiction in English, including The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), which might be said to be about unholy genetics. The work’s biological and sociopolitical ideas are still current (such were the range and depth of Wells’ ideas).
Wells continued to work on Doctor Moreau for nearly thirty years after its initial publication in London (the New York first edition added a subtitle A Possibility), finally letting go of the work after the publication of the Atlantic Edition in 1924. Annotated by the premier Wellsian scholar, this is an exhaustive critical edition, examining the historical, medical, philosophical and literary contexts of the story.

About the Author(s)

The late Leon Stover, professor emeritus at the Illinois Institute of Technology, was the first to bring science fiction to the college curriculum and was the author of numerous landmarks of intellectual history. He lived in Chicago.

Bibliographic Details

H.G. Wells
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 301
Bibliographic Info: 2 photos, annotations, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1996]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6870-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1276-8
Imprint: McFarland
Series: The Annotated H.G. Wells

Table of Contents

Preface      ix
Introduction      1

1. The Text      1
2. Nature and Nurture      2
3. Noble’s Isle      16
4. Chance, Waste, and Pain      21
5. Chronolatry      27
6. The Sphinx of Sin      36
7. Pig Philosophy      39
8. Vivisection Morality      44

The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896)      55
(Annotated text of the first London edition)      58

Epilogue: The Coming Terror      209
I. a. “The Province of Pain” (1894)      211
b. Excerpt from Text-Book of Biology (1893, Part I—Vertebrata)      219
II. “The Limits of Individual Plasticity” (1895c)      221
III. a. “Human Evolution, An Artificial Process” (1896c)      225
b. “Mr. Wells Replies” (1897b)      236
c. “The Acquired Factor” (1897a)      241
IV. a. “The Influence of Islands on Variation” (1895e)      246
b. “To the Editor of the Saturday Review” (1896d)      250
V. “Morals and Civilisation” (1897c)      252
VI. Excerpt from Wilkie Collins, Heart and Science (1883)      265

Bibliography      271
Index      285

Book Reviews & Awards

“Wells’s masterpieces get the red-carpet treatment here in these luxurious editions…academic collections supporting English departments should definitely invest in this volume”—Library Journal; “Stover is to be thanked for his years of Wellsian scholarship”—Public Library Quarterly; “Stover, by presenting the intellectual underpinnings of Wells’ work, has provided a powerful tool for understanding his writings, one sees them more deeply, without losing that earlier sense-of-wonder that originally opened the vistas of the young reader’s mind…a crucial guide to these classics of science fiction”—Fosfax; “two cheers for Stoverism…formidable scholarship…serious students of Wells would be foolish to ignore ‘Stoverism’”—The Wellsian; “Stover should be commended for a painstaking and meticulous editorial commentary”—Utopian Studies; “extensively annotated and analyzed by Stover…annotations are filled with insights into Wells’ writings and philosophy”—C&RL News.