Description

    H. G. Wells' Legal Woes Whilst Working with a Colloborator - Complete in Two Volumes, Each numbered "1" and Signed by Wells.

    H. G. Wells. The Problem of the Troublesome Collaborator. [N.p., privately printed, 1930]. First edition, one of 175 numbered copies, this being copy number 1. This copy signed by Wells on the half-title. Octavo. 74, [3, blank] pages. [and:] H. G. Wells. Settlement of the Trouble Between Mr. Thring and Mr. Wells. [N.p., privately printed, 1930]. First edition, one of 250 numbered copies, this being copy number 1. Signed by Wells on the front wrapper. Octavo. [2, blank], 23, [1, blank] pages. Both volumes in original printed wrappers with some minor rubbing and thumbsoiling, else fine. Each volume being number 1, and signed by Wells raises the tantalizing possibility that these were Wells' own copies. From the John McLaughlin/Book Sail Collection.

    More Information:

    These two books relate the difficulties Wells encountered when he hired two other authors to work with him on the third title in his "popular statement of the current state of knowledge," the first two being his Outline of History (1918-1919, paying advisers as he needed to), and Science of Life, for which he collaborated with Sir Julian Huxley, and George Philip Wells, his own son. The third book in this ambitious trilogy was to be The Science of Work and Wealth, and Wells hired two collaborators, Hugh P. Vowles and Edward Cressy (pseudonym of C. H. Creasey) for the large sum of £6,000 each. Cressy had a successful record as an author, with his book Discoveries and Inventions of the Twentieth Century in its third printing when Wells hired him. Vowles was less experienced, and Wells began to feel he was arrogant and much too sensitive for the work that he was hired for. Vowles began arguing with Cressy, and when Cressy told Wells he wanted to quit the project because of the turmoil caused by Vowles, Wells fired Vowles, saying that Vowles should be paid only for the work he did, about £800, and that Vowles would be allowed to publish his own work as a separate title (The Conquest of Power). Vowles, feeling he had been fired unjustly and that he was entitled to the full payment of £6,000, went to Mr. Thring of the Society of Authors and convinced him to use the Society's lawyers to fight the case. As the case began going poorly for Wells (and his anger rose), he published the first title above at his own expense and distributed it to every member of the Society. When Thring read the book, he felt he had been defamed, and would seek damages against Wells. Eventually, Wells had apologized to Thring, and Wells had agreed to send the second above title to the membership of the Society.

    Eventually, The Science of Work and Wealth was published in 1931, and it was not as great a success as the first two of the series. It is unknown if Wells was forced to pay Vowles the entire amount. Hammond F32 and F33. Brian J. Ford, Surprising Insights into H. G. Wells, Bulletin of the Friends of Cambridge University Library, 25.



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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    10th Wednesday
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