When the Sleeper Wakes

A Critical Text of the 1899 New York and London First Edition, with an Introduction and Appendices


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About the Book

Critics view When the Sleeper Wakes as a prototype of the anti-utopian novel, a genre developed by Zamyatin, Huxley, and Orwell into nightmare futures associated with the totalitarian age and the moral horrors of fascism and communism. Annotated by the world’s leading Wellsian scholar, in Sleeper is found a greater measure of artistry and characterization than is usually accorded it. As a complex work combining technological with social speculation, Sleeper is unmatched for canniness in the history of futuristic literature. Indeed, its aeronautical details influenced the Wright Brothers in the design of their flyer, and the novel predicts the promotion of airplanes as a weapon, a prophecy dramatically fulfilled in the twentieth century. This exhaustive critical edition features a lengthy introduction, appendices, bibliography and index, and a frontispiece taken from the original 1899 edition.

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: 477
Bibliographic Info: 3 photos, annotations, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6873-7
Imprint: McFarland
Series: The Annotated H.G. Wells

Table of Contents

Preface     ix

1 The Text    ; 1
2 The Prophet Belittled     4
3 Comic Inferno: From Sleeper to Schlepper     7
4 Nightmare: From Wells to Orwell     12
5 “Literature of Power”     14
6 Fascism     20
7 The Other Socialism     24
8 White, Red, and Blue     33
9 Totalitarianism     40
10 Equality and Human Rights     48
11 Oswald Spengler on the Years 2000–2200     60

When the Sleeper Wakes (1899)     65
(Annotated text of the First New York and London edition)     68

I: “What I Believe” (1899a)     384
II: Preface to the 1910 Revision     389
III: Preface to the 1921 Reprint     392
IV: Preface to the 1924 Atlantic Edition     398
V: “The Labour Unrest” (1912b)     403
VI: “The World’s Greatest Revolution,” by John Brisben Walker (1901)     431
VII: On Aldous Huxley’s Response in Brave New World     438

Bibliography     441
Index     461

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.