The Picshuas of H. G. Wells

A Burlesque Diary
Author: Gene K. Rinkel and Margaret E. Rinkel
Recovering and analyzing Wells' amazing wealth of sketches and caricatures
Cloth – $110
978-0-252-03045-1
Publication Date: May 2006
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About the Book

H. G. Wells (1866-1946) was a literary lion throughout his career, publishing more than one hundred books, including classics such as War of the Worlds, The Invisible Man, and The Time Machine. Though best remembered for his science fiction, Wells was also a prolific sketcher who frequently enlivened his correspondence and marginalia with cartoons. Those drawings made for his companion Amy Catherine Robbins, which he called "picshuas," allowed him a vehicle for his nuanced self-expression and satire. Gene K. Rinkel and Margaret E. Rinkel's The Picshuas of H. G. Wells interprets these highly original cartoons through an analysis of their peculiar content and style based on Wells's life and writings.

The picshuas are perhaps the best demonstration of Wells's piquant sense of humor. They provide intriguing snapshots of Wells's robust private life and convey his opinions about other writers and public figures as well as himself, whose rotund cartoon figure he sometimes lampooned as "the Great Author." Using a narrative style of creative nonfiction, The Picshuas of H. G. Wells weaves facts from Wells's life with incidents reflected in the cartoons, episodes drawn from his novels, and scenes from other writings to provide glimpses into his moments of his personal and professional conflict and triumph. There emerges a fascinating and funny portrait of a complex literary personality and his complicated relationship with a devoted collaborator, his wife.

Some forty picshuas were published in Wells's Experiment in Autobiography, but the wide range of the pichsuas throughout his correspondence and private papers has never been surveyed and published until now. As an ensemble, they provide close look at the Great Author in his most joyous and uninhibited moments, laughing at himself and the world.

About the Author

Gene K. Rinkel is the curator of special collections and an associate professor of library administration at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Margaret E. Rinkel is a former high school English teacher with a lifelong interest in sketching and writing.