The War of the Worlds

The War of the Worlds: A Critique of Imperialism

With the close of the 19th century and the dawn of the 20th, much of the world was changing. In particular, world literature was shifting from the ideals of Romanticism to the stark realism of novels written after the Great War. At the beginning of this shift lies the novel <i>The War of the Worlds</i> by H.G. Wells. It is a unique work in that it can be considered an example of both literary themes present during the 1890s, Romanticism and realism. In the words of Wells himself, it is a “scientific romance” combining aspects of both. While it uses the Martian invasion of Earth as an extended metaphor to critique imperialism in fine Romantic form, its approach is very realistic through its use of verisimilitude, telling of the fictional invasion as an actual event that occurred in the recent past. It is the use of this literary technique that lets <i>The War of the Worlds</i> stand out amidst novels with similar themes but rather more conventional premises, such as Joseph Conrad’s <i>Heart of Darkness</i>.

Considering the subject matter, the opinions and knowledge of the general public at the time, and the prevailing literary ideas, it was crucial to establish credibility early on. Otherwise,...

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