December 8, 2005

Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells

Bernard Shaw and H. G. Wells
J. Percy Smith, ed.


(December 8, 2005)

Shaw and Wells knew each other well, debated each other in private and public and print for decades, and were merciless to each other in their correspondence. What is most striking about these letters -- recommended as essential reading in The Believer by Ray Bradbury -- is that the friendship survived the brutal pounding these letters represent. That they are nicely written, erudite, wise, and topical goes without saying: this is Shaw, and that is H.G. Wells, and what did you expect? That these two men could continue to speak to each other, dine together, and correspond during such bitter disagreements and in the face of such casually tactless spites (Shaw never missing an opportunity to pontificate, and one gathers that Wells seldom turned down a woman) says much for the liberal mind.