The Island of Dr. Moreau
A scientific romance by H G Wells (1866-1946), published in 1896. In 1895, Wells had written a paper on ‘The Limits of Individual Plasticity’, speculating about the possibility of transforming living beings. The Island of Doctor Moreau explores this theme. A shipwrecked man, Edward Prendick, reaches a sinister island inhabited by notorious vivisectionist, Doctor Moreau. Prendick suspects that experiments are also being carried out on humans, resulting in hybrid forms; however, the doctor explains that he has actually been changing animals into people. After Moreau’s death his creatures revert, guided by their innate instincts. Although Prendick makes it home to England, he experiences profound discomfort in the presence of humans.
- Article by:
- Matthew Taunton
- Visions of the future, Power and politics, Fin de siècle
H G Wells was a committed socialist whose political writing influenced, among other things, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dr Matthew Taunton considers how Wells engaged with socialist ideas in his journalism, social commentary and fiction.
- Article by:
- Roger Luckhurst
- Visions of the future, Fin de siècle
Roger Luckhurst looks at H G Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau as a text that both provoked and explored feelings of disgust, reflecting late-Victorian questions and fears about vivisection, cannibalism and evolutionary degeneration.
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