Leon Trotsky on H. G. Wells as Philistine


“What a bourgeois he is! He is a Philistine!” he repeated, and raised both hands above the table, laughed and sighed, as was characteristic of him when he felt a kind of inner shame for another man.

SOURCE: Trotsky Leon. “The Philistine and the Revolutionary” (April 6, 1924), in Lenin (New York: Blue Ribbon Books, 1925.) From an account (disputed by Wells) of Wells’s meeting with Lenin in the winter of 1920-21.


We were all surprised when, not so long ago, Bernard Shaw—such a witty writer!—informed us that Marx had long ago been superseded by Wells’s great work on universal history. [1]

1. I must confess that until Bernard Shaw’s letter I had not even known of the existence of this book. Afterwards I acquainted myself with it—I cannot in good conscience say read it because an acquaintance with two or three chapters was quite enough to stop me wasting any more time. Imagine a complete absence of method, of historical perspective, of understanding of the interdependence of the different facets of social life, and of scientific discipline in general and then imagine a “historian” burdened with these qualities roaming far and wide over the history of a few millenia with the carefree air of a man taking his Sunday stroll. Then you will have Wells’s book, which is to replace the Marxist school. — L.D.T.

SOURCE: Trotsky Leon. Leon Trotsky’s Writings on Britain, Volume 2: Where is Britain Going?; based on (1975?) Collected Writings and Speeches on Britain: In Three Volumes by Leon Trotsky, edited by R. Chappell and Alan Clinton. London: New Park Publications; New York: distributed by Labor Publications, 1974. This excerpt from Chapter IV: The Fabian “Theory’ of Socialism.


See also:

Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946. Journalism and Prophecy, 1893-1946: An Anthology; compiled and edited by W. Warren Wagar. London: Bodley Head, 1965 [1966]. xxi, 330 pp.

PREFACE, vii
INTRODUCTION, xi
PART ONE: FORECASTS AND IMPRESSIONS
I - The rears before the Storm, 1893-1914
1. The Man of the Year Million, 3
2. The Triumph of Suburbia, 9
3. War in the Twentieth Century, 24
4. The Land Ironclads, 32
5. Atomic Bombs, 36
6. The War in the Air, 39
7. The Labour Unrest, 43
II - The Great War and the League, 1914-1919
1. The War That Will End War, 55
2. Boon, 62
3. The Quick Way to Essen, 67
4. The End of the War, 70
5. The End of the Hohenzollerns, 74
6. What the War is Doing for Women, 77
7. Ruins, 84
8. The Plain Necessity for a League, 90
9. A Letter to Wilson, 99
III - The Age of the Dictators, 1920-1939
1. Homunculus in a Bottle, 107
2. The Trail of Versailles, 112
3. Russia in the Shadows, 118
4. A Year of Prophesying, 135
5. The General Strike, 145
6. Fascism, 159
7. The Munich Crisis and the Nazi Religion, 168
8. Decadent World, 176
IV - The Second World War, 1939-1946
1. A War of Bluff, 181
2. Why Generals Deteriorate, 187
3. A Republican's Faith, 191
PART TWO: PORTRAITS
I. Joseph Conrad and Ford Madox Hueffer, 197
2. Henry James and Bernard Shaw, 200
3. Ivan Pavlov and Bernard Shaw, 207
4. Theodore Roosevelt, 215
5. David Lloyd George, 219
6. Lords Grey and Curzon, 222
7. V. I. Lenin, 225
8. J. V. Stalin, 233
9. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 240
10. Winston Churchill, 247
11. Charles de Gaulle, 260
12. Beatrice Webb, 267
PART THREE: VISIONS
1. The World Organism, 273
2. Socialism and the New World Order, 277
3. The Federation of Man, 282
4. The Open Conspiracy, 288
5. The Idea of a World Encyclopedia, 302
6. The Rights of Man, 310
7. Mind at the End of Its Tether, 316
SOURCES, 323
BOOKS BY H. G. WELLS, 327

Wells, H. G. The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind. Volume I  & Volume II. New York: Macmillan, 1920.

The Outline of History - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

H. G. Wells - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


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