Wells, H.G.: The War of the Worlds (Study Guide)

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Study Guide for H. G. Wells: The War of the Worlds (1898) Introduction War of the Worlds was written in response to several historicalevents. The most important was the unification and militarization of Germany,which led to a series of novels predicting war in Europe, beginning with GeorgeChesney`s The Battle of Dorking (1871). Most of these werewritten in a semi-documentary fashion; and Wells borrowed their technique to tiehis interplanetary war tale to specific places in England familiar to hisreaders. This attempt at hyper-realism helped to inspire Orson Welles when thelatter created his famed 1938 radio broadcast based on the novel. There was a specific event that inspired Wells. In 1894 Mars was positionedparticularly closely to Earth, leading to a great deal of observation anddiscussion. Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli had reported seeing canali on Mars, meaningchannels, but the term was mistranslated as canals,leading to much speculation about life on the red planet. Although scientistswere able eventually to photograph what seem to be large stream beds on Mars,these are on a much smaller scale than the blobs and blotches which misledSchiaparelli into thinking he had seen channels. One of the 1894 observers, aM. Javelle of Nice, claimed to have seen a strange light on Mars, which furtherstimulated speculation about life there. Wells turned Javelle into Lavelle ofJava, an island much on people`s minds because of the explosion there in 1883 ofMount Krakatoa, ...

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