46 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2019
    1. Ulla, ulla, ulla, ulla

      From STOVER 237: "The 'ulla, ulla' of the last of [the Martians] echoes the Irish Gol, or Ullaloo, a lamentation over the dead. It has classical references in Virgil (Magnoque ululante tumulta) and in Ovid (Ululatibus omne / Implevere nemus), as in the title of E.A. Poe's Ballad 'Ulalume'."

    2. I dashed out and caught her in my arms.

      GANGNES: STOVER (248) incorrectly comments on this line as if it were the ending of the serialized version of the text:

      "All critics think this is a weak ending, and ending it was in the serial version of 1897. The Epilogue is new to the book but it, too, strikes the very same note."

      This is likely due to some confusion over the fact that an Epilogue was "new to the book"; Wells wrote a new Epilogue for the 1898 volume, for which he retained and rearranged portions of the serialized text, including this scene with the narrator's cousin and wife.

      The asterisk inserted here indicates a "hard break" (paragraph break of several lines) in the serialized text, but it is not, as Stover calls it, the novel's ending. Rather, it is simply a pause at the conclusion of the narrator's journey before he reflects on his telling of it, and the outcome and aftereffects of the Martian invasion.

    1. The bare idea of this is no doubt horribly repulsive to us, but at the same time I think that we should remember how repulsive our carnivorous habits would seem to an intelligent rabbit.

      GANGNES: The text beginning with "I know it is..." and ending with "But I wander from my subject" several paragraphs later was cut from the 1898 volume. See text comparison page.

      STOVER argues, "The reason Wells cut this passage from the book version is probably aesthetic. He did not wish to give away to much, if he were to keep with the novel's deepest artistic ambiguity" (188). However, this assessment risks oversimplifying an extensive edit. Apart from "giving away too much"--offering a lot of information that the narrator would not find out until much later and therefore informing the reader of details about the Martians relatively early--this passage can come off as "preachy" or overly philosophical in a way Wells may have later decided he disliked.

      This omitted section tells us a great deal not only about the Martians' grisly study of a live human subject, but also about the narrator's ideologies. Looking back on his first glimpses of the Martians from a later time of safety, the narrator offers a kind of persuasive philosophical essay (he is, by trade, a professional writer of similar essays) on the ethical and moral lessons to be gleaned, from the Martians' behavior, about humans' treatment of other animals.

      While the passage may "wander from [the narrator's] subject," it offers an intriguing dissonance between the narrator's terror of being killed by the Martians--to the point where he sacrifices others' lives--and his cool, high-minded defense of their consumption of human beings.

      In the end, Wells retains only the first sentence of this passage in the volume to speak very briefly to the narrator's philosophical thoughts on the matter. What we gain in narrative flow and "artistic ambiguity," we may lose in characterization.

    2. tenth Cylinder

      From STOVER 188: re cutting this section, "Wells may have considered the fact that the narrator's reference to a 'tenth cylinder' is three too many. On the other hand, his miscounting of the seven actual landings would be consistent with his unreliability on so many other points."

    3. Tunicates

      From MCCONNELL 246: "marine animals with saclike bodies and two protruding openings for the ingestion and expulsion of water (their means of locomotion)"

      From STOVER 190: "The Tunicates ... are Sea Squirts, belonging to the Urchordata, a subphylum of chordata or 'vertebrated animals [to which they are] first cousins.'"

      From DANAHAY 146: "a subspecies of sea animals that have saclike bodies and minimal digestive systems"

    4. Handling Machine

      From STOVER 199: "The 'Handling Machines' are robots, which here make them their first appearance in science fiction."

      GANGNES: Illustrations of the Martians' technology have strongly favored the iconic tripod fighting machines, with almost no depictions of the handling machines. A notable exception is the below image by Brazilian artist Henrique Alvim Corrêa, who created it as part of a series of illustrations for a limited-edition Belgian volume (1906):

    5. I have been still too long

      From STOVER 209: "A dim echo of Isaiah 42:14, 'I have been still, and refrained myself.' The rest of the curate's rantings descend into more biblical-sounding rhetoric. He is now so self-indulgent in his righteousness that he loses control of scripture, once the very basis of his sense of failing. It is a nice comment on the weakness of theological doctrine to cope with truly catastrophic, even apocalyptic events like the Lisbon earthquake."

    6. Briareus

      From MCCONNELL 259: "in Greek myth, a pre-Olympian giant with fifty heads and a hundred hands."

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 220: "In Greek mythology Briareus was a giant with fifty heads and a hundred hands."

      From STOVER 210: "Briareus, in Greek mythology, is a giant with fifty heads and a hundred hands. The Martians' robotic Handling Machines are the multiplex hands of their guiding heads--one giant in their common purpose."

      From DANAHAY 156: "in mythology, a monster with a hundred hands"

      More information:

    1. Committee of Public Supply

      From STOVER 169: "A vigilante group whose name echoes that of the Committee of Public Safety formed under Robespierre during the French Revolution."

    1. carbonic acid gas

      From MCCONNELL 207: carbon dioxide

      From STOVER 149: carbon dioxide is heavier than air; it is emitted from erupting volcanoes into the low-lying areas around them

    2. motor cars

      From STOVER 154-5: London's first motor exhibition was in 1895; legislation kept motorcars' speed slower than horses (and horse-drawn carts/carriages) and bicycles. In 1903 the maximum speed for motorcars was raised from two miles per hour to twenty.

  2. Apr 2019
    1. Miss Elphinstone

      From STOVER 158: This heroic character is likely named after Montstuart Elphinstone (died 1859), who explored the dangerous wilds of Afghanistan on behalf of the British Raj. Wells's readers would have been familiar with his feats.

    2. Vestry

      GANGNES: Note that MCCONNELL, HUGHES AND GEDULD, and STOVER do not completely agree on their explanations of this reference.

      From MCCONNELL 218: In the Church of England, the Vestry is not just the room in a church where vestments are stored; it is also committee of parishioners who arrange local matters like streetcleaning.

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 214: "Vestry here is not used in its usual ecclesiastical sense but refers to a committee of citizens 'vested' with the task of arranging for such basic local services as health and food inspection and garbage disposal. St. Pancras (then a London borough) is located northwest of the City of London."

      From STOVER 161: "A public-health committee of that city district responsible for its garbage removal--a task now beyond its capacity as all public services are overwhelmed."

    3. Chief Justice

      GANGNES: Note that MCCONNELL disagrees with HUGHES AND GEDULD and STOVER here about the importance of this title.

      From MCCONNELL 220: "In England, the presiding judge of any court with several members."

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 215: "The nearest American equivalent [of "Chief Justice" here] (although there are many differences in the two offices) would be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court."

      From STOVER: "The Lord Chief Justice of England is equivalent to the Chief Justice of the United States."

    4. sovereigns

      From MCCONNELL 220: gold coins worth two pounds, eighteen shillings (each)

      From DANAHAY 124: gold coins worth two pounds each ("the man has a lot of heavy money in his bag")

      GANGNES: Note that MCCONNELL's and DANAHAY's respective accounts of a sovereign's worth are not the same as one another or as HUGHES AND GEDULD's (and STOVER's) below.

    5. gold

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD: "refers to sovereigns: gold coins worth one English pound each."

      GANGNES: Note that HUGHES AND GEDULD's account of a sovereign's worth is not the same as MCCONNELL's or DANAHAY's above. STOVER (157) agrees with HUGHES AND GEDULD.

    1. curious brown scum

      From STOVER 137: residue from the Black Smoke upstream

    2. Albany Street barracks

      From STOVER 141: "Army barracks in central London. In the event, soldiers quartered there are useless in facing unconventional Martian forces."

    3. They communicated with each other by means of siren-like howls, running up and down the scale from one note to another.

      From STOVER 145: Another evocation of the Prussian military model; their communications were superior to those of the French in the Franco-Prussian War.

    4. make a greater Moscow

      GANGNES: MCCONNELL and HUGHES AND GEDULD seem to be at odds here about the historical significance of this reference. STOVER (147) agrees with HUGHES AND GEDULD.

      From MCCONNELL 206: "From September 2 to October 7, 1812, the French Army of Napoleon occupied Moscow, burning and destroying more than three-fourths of the city. They were finally compelled to retreat, however, due to Russian guerrilla resistance and the impossibility of acquiring adequate provisions."

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 213: "To frustrate the Martians by destroying their major objective, London, as the Russians did to Napoleon in 1812 by setting fire to Moscow."

    5. kopjes

      From STOVER 148: "Small hills of South African locution made familiar to English readers in accounts of the Boer War, from behind which Boer guerrillas sniped on English troops. Although the war did not officially break out until 1899, the landscape of the coming conflict was reported by [Rudyard] Kipling."

    6. earthly artillery

      GANGNES: HUGHES AND GEDULD (213) observe that this is likely a reference to Satan's "infernal artillery" in Milton's Paradise Lost, rather than a "celestial artillery" (STOVER 148 uses this term as well) as an inverse of "earthly artillery." In the context of a Martian invasion, however, "celestial" in opposition to "infernal" becomes complicated; in a narrative like Milton's, it would refer to Heaven, whereas in the context of Wells, it would be "the heavens," i.e., space. The Martians are far from benevolent angels; they are, perhaps, "avenging angels," or akin to infernal beings, despite being from a neighboring planet. In the context of this novel, might we imagine a new kind of artillery: an "alien artillery"?

    1. “It’s bows and arrows against the lightning, anyhow,”

      STOVER: "It is the inequality of combat, magnified, between French and German forces in the Franco-Prussian War."

      GANGNES: In addition to STOVER's note, consider the larger scope of nineteenth-century European imperialism; the 1890s were a time when the British empire was nearing its decline, and The War of the Worlds was one of many well-known novels written at the end of the century that addressed imperialism. Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (serialized in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in 1899 before being collected) tells of a real-life imperial experience, but Bram Stoker's Dracula, which was, like The War of the Worlds, published in 1897, is a very different kind of novel that nonetheless explores the idea of Britain being invaded by a superior entity in the way the British invaded colonial lands.

      Numerous Wells scholars have written on the "reverse colonization" and "Empire comes home" nature of The War of the Worlds. As Robert Silverberg writes, "[Humans] simply don’t matter at all [to the Martians], any more than the natives of the Congo or Mexico or the Spice Islands mattered to the European invaders who descended upon them to take their lands and their treasures from them during the great age of colonialism.” Likewise, Robert Crossley observes, "The Martians do to England what the Victorians had done to Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific--and Wells intended that his fellow English imperialists taste a dose of their own medicine.”

      Sources:

      More information:

    2. The smoke of her burning goeth up for ever and ever

      GANGNES: With his mind still on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, MCCONNELL identifies this quote as referencing Genesis as well. STOVER and DANAHAY both identify the reference as coming from Revelation, but disagree on which passage. An examination of each passage would suggest that Stover is correct, though DANAHAY's passage also describes destruction.

      From MCCONNELL 188: "A slightly inaccurate quotation from Genesis 18:28."

      From STOVER 130: reference to Revelation 19:3: "Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever." ("her" = the harlot of Babylon, Rome)

      From DANAHAY 96: "Revelations[sic] 6:16-17 describes the end of the world in these terms."

    3. hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne?

      From STOVER 131: reference to Revelation 6:16

      GANGNES: Note that this is the passage DANAHAY cited earlier in the curate's speech.

    1. This lot’ll cost the insurance people a pretty penny, before everything’s settled.” He laughed with an air of the greatest good humour, as he said this.

      From STOVER 93-4: "The narrator's neighbor in Woking assumes, with a touching faith in bourgeois property values, that 'the insurance people' will settle for damages once the Martians are defeated."

    2. that a dispute had arisen at the Horse Guards

      GANGNES: STOVER corrects HUGHES AND GEDULD's annotation, though does not mention them specifically in the note, despite referencing them in other notes.

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 206: "Their notion is that there was an operational or tactical dispute--about how to deal with the situation--among the officers of the elite Horse Guards at the Horse Guard barracks (a building in central London opposite Whitehall). The Horse Guards are the cavalry brigade of the English Household troops (the third regiment of Horse Guards is known as the Royal Horse Guards)."

      From STOVER 94: Horse Guards here "is a shorthand reference to the British War Office, located on Horse Guards Parade near Downing Street in London. As Americans refer to the Department of Defense as 'The Pentagon' after its office building, so the British called its War Office 'the Horse Guards.' Not to be confused with the Household Calvary regiment The Royal Horse Guards, even then a tourist attraction when on parade."

    3. pinnacle of the mosque

      From STOVER 96-7: "The mosque was built for Muslim students at the Oriental College, a center for distinguished Indian visitors from the British Raj." Unlike in the novel, the mosque still stands today.

    4. I’m selling my bit of a pig.

      GANGNES: HUGHES AND GEDULD and STOVER both disagree with MCCONNELL about the meaning of this phrase.

      From MCCONNELL 159: "The landlord fears he may be selling (not buying) a 'pig in a poke.'"

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 207: "One nineteenth-century slang meaning of 'pig' was goods or property. Hence the sentence might simply men: 'I'm selling my bit of property.' Another slang meaning of 'pig' was nag, donkey, or moke; while 'bit of' was an adjectival term that could be used variously to express affection for the subject it preceded. ... Another possibility is a real pig, i.e., the landlord is surprised--after asking a pig buyer to pay a pound and drive the pig home himself--to be offered two pounds with a promise moreover to return the pig. According to this, people are simply talking at cross-purposes, and the narrator then explains that he wants a dogcart, not a pig."

      From STOVER 98: "The landlord is puzzled by the narrator's haste to pay two pounds for his 'bit of pig' (=his valuable piece of property) coupled with a strong promise to return it."

    5. sounded more like the working of a gigantic electric machine than the usual detonating reverberations

      From STOVER 102: "an allusion to the Wimshurst electrostatic induction generator invented in 1880 by James Wimshurst"

    6. Apparently his neck had been broken. The lightning flashed for a third time, and his face leapt upon me. I sprang to my feet. It was the landlord of the “Spotted Dog,” whose conveyance I had taken.

      From STOVER 107: The narrator's false promise to return the dogcart was likely the cause of the landlord's death; he couldn't escape because the narrator had taken his means of conveyance.

    7. fiery chaos

      From STOVER 109: reference to Revelation 20:9: "and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them."

    8. pillars of fire

      GANGNES: MCCONNELL is partially incorrect here; his citation is more thorough in that it addresses both the pillar of fire and pillar of smoke, but the appropriate chapter is Exodus 13, not Exodus 15. The most thorough and correct citation here would be a combination of the two--Exodus 13:21-22--which STOVER cites, though inexplicably as a note at the beginning of Chapter XII rather than at the textual reference.

      From MCCONNELL 173: "In Exodus 15:21-22, God sends a pillar of fire to guide the Israelites through the Sinai Desert by night, and a pillar of cloud to guide them by day."

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 209: "See Exodus 13:21: 'And the Lord went before them [to guide the Israelites through the Sinai] ... by night in a pillar of fire."

      From STOVER 114: [quotes Exodus 13:21-22, then:] "As the Lord guided the Israelites through the Sinai desert, so the Martians lead humanity through a wasteland of suffering. Ahead, leaving the old order behind, is the promise of world unity."

    1. much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light

      From STOVER 81: "The Heat-Ray is often taken as a prophecy of beam-focused lasers, but this is to miss the photographic metaphor Wells uses: 'the camera that fired the Heat-Ray,' 'the camera-like generator of the Heat-Ray.' The Martians' rayguns are in fact cameras in reverse, emitting light not receiving it, and they are in fact mounted on tripods as were the heavy old cameras of the day. What they see they zap. More, the photo-journalistic realism of the invasion recounted by the narrator recalls that of Roger Fenton, whose coverage of the Crimean War in 1855 is the first instance of a war photographer on the scene of action. His pictures were accompanied by sensational stories done by the famed William Howard Russell of the London Times, the first war correspondent in the modern sense. The narrator's account is modeled after both precedents, visually and journalistically."

      GANGNES: Stover here gestures to (though not by name) MCCONNELL (145), whose note is quoted by HUGHES AND GEDULD in their edition. MCCONNELL'S note reads: "Though the details of the heat-ray are vague, they do anticipate in some remarkable ways the development of the laser beam in the 1950s."

      That said, MCCONNELL and others rightly point to one of the numerous instances in which Wells's descriptions of technologies and events appear prescient. Indeed, many of the Martian technologies seem to anticipate military tech developed for use in the First and Second World Wars. For an analysis of The War of the Worlds and its early illustrations as they relate to early twentieth-century warfare, see Gangnes, "Wars of the Worlds: H.G. Wells’s Ekphrastic Style in Word and Image" in Art and Science in Word and Image: Exploration and Discovery (Brill, 2019), pp. 100-114.

    2. photographically distinct

      GANGNES: See earlier note in this installment from STOVER on "much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light." As MCCONNELL (182) notes in Installment 4: "The first portable camera, the Kodak, had been patented by George Eastman in 1888. Wells himself was an ardent amateur photographer."

      Even before the portable camera and the beginnings of amateur photography, the prevalence of photojournalism would have made most readers familiar with, and likely interested in, photography. References to cameras and photography, especially in relation to the heat ray, are prevalent throughout the novel.

      More information:

    1. The Anatomy of Melancholy

      From STOVER 49: "Johannes Kepler (d. 1630) laid the foundation of modern astronomy with his calculation of planetary motions, as immortalized in Kepler's laws." Epigraph quote is from a letter to Galileo quoted by Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621). Wells slightly abridged the quote.

      More information:

    2. across the gulf of space

      From STOVER 52: Phrase is from Percival Lowell's Mars (1895).

      More information:

    3. Tasmanians

      From MCCONNELL 125: In the eighteenth century England drove native Tasmanians from their land in order to turn Tasmania into a prison colony.

      From STOVER 55-6: "The racially Australoid natives of Tasmania survived until 1876 in a state of upper paleolithic culture. To the island's Dutch and later British "colonists, they were so many subhumans hunted down for dog meat.

      More information:

    4. Schiaparelli

      From MCCONNELL 126: Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli (1835-1910) was an Italian astronomer who claimed to have discovered "canals" on Mars. Schiaparelli called them canali ("channels" in Italian) but the (mis)translation of the word in to English caused speculation that the canali might have been made by intelligent life.

      From STOVER 57: Schiaparelli mapped Mars during the opposition of 1877 and provided names for some surface features still used today.

      More information:

    5. Nature

      From MCCONNELL 126: Nature is a scientific journal first edited by Sir Norman Lockyer, who was one of Wells's teachers at the Normal School of Science.

      From STOVER 57: This is a reference to the article "A strange Light on Mars," which was published in Nature in 1894.

      GANGNES: This is one of the many instances where Wells establishes the novel within a framework of real scientific discoveries and historical events. This enhances the realism and journalistic quality of the narrative.

      More information:

    6. signalling us

      From STOVER 60: There was a "signalling mania" during this time; Francis Galton (Darwin's cousin) fed the "mania" through his 1896 article "Intelligible Signals Between Neighbouring Stars."

    7. sand-pits

      From STOVER 67: The sand-pits are a real topographical feature on Horsell Common.

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 233: "On the east side of Horsell Common, about a mile and a half north of Woking."

    8. gas float

      From MCCONNELL 135: "a hollow tube or ball used to regulate the flow of a liquid or gas"

      From STOVER 69: "a harbor beacon erected on a floating hull containing bottled gas to fuel it"

    9. three kingdoms

      GANGNES: You will see below that three different annotated editions of the novel give three different definitions of this reference, and they do not agree as to whether it is Wales or Ireland that is meant to be the "third kingdom."

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 203: England, Ireland, and Scotland

      From STOVER 70: Of Great Britain

      From DANAHAY 52: England, Scotland, and Wales

    10. Stent, the Astronomer Royal

      From STOVER 27: "The Astronomer Royal was director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, but 'Stent' is not recorded as one of them." "Stent" may have been used for political reasons.

    11. Lord Hilton, the lord of Horsell Manor

      From HUGHES AND GEDULD 203: "No Horsell Manor or Lord Hilton has been traced"; "the local lord was Lord Onslow of Clandon."

      From STOVER 71: The name may have been changed for political reasons.