H.G. Wellsâs 1909 novel centres on the coming of age of the spirited Ann Veronica, who runs away from her sheltered suburban home to live in London. There she mingles with feminists, studies biology, learns jiu jitsu, and even participates in a suffragette raid on the House of Commons that lands her in jail. When originally published, the novel was deemed âpoisonousâ for its bold treatment of an adulterous romance that only lightly veiled Wellsâs extramarital affairs. While critics debate whether the shift to romance undermines the novelâs feminist themes, readers continue to be engaged by its vividly realized heroine and its rich portrayal of the tumultuous social movements of Edwardian London.
Historical documents expand on the novelâs autobiographical dimension with letters between Wells and Amber Reeves, the model for Ann Veronica; also included are materials on the suffrage movement, attempts to censor the novel, and the New Woman.
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