Sarah Cole is Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature and dean of humanities at Columbia University. She is the author of Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War (2003) and At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland (2012).
Sarah Cole restores a colossus to size, recovering the enormous importance of H. G. Wells in the literary and cultural history of a century that seems, until now, to have left him behind. No longer. Written with synoptic power and narrative flair, synthesizing an extensive archive of print and film, Inventing Tomorrow splendidly establishes Wells not just as a figure of primary importance, but as an attractive, indeed fascinating, imaginative personality. -- Vincent Sherry, Howard Nemerov Professor in the Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis What if modernism met up with antimodernism, like matter and antimatter? In Sarah Cole's fascinating and ambitious new study, she argues that H. G. Wells's work was at once modernist and itself a critique of modernism, an explosive mix whose significance was missed both by his contemporaries and by literary critics who have taken his rivals at their word and mistaken their jealousy at his popularity for judgment of his merit. -- Jill Lepore, author of <i>These Truths: A History of the United States</i> Sarah Cole transforms our view of H. G. Wells, not only seeing him as a pivotal figure in his own world but also, with subtlety and conviction, connecting him with his modernist contemporaries. Wells emerges in this detailed, cogent, and incisive study as a complex and fascinating thinker filled with contradictions, combining moral force with artistic restlessness. He was headstrong, engaged, combative, innovative, industrious, fearless, and prophetic. Inventing Tomorrow does justice to his vast range of work while emphasizing how Wells must be placed at the core of any consideration of intellectual life in the early twentieth century. -- Colm Toibin, author of <i>Brooklyn: A Novel</i>