[SFRA-L] Wells TTM question: Elio and Morlock appeals
Allen, Virginia [ENGL]
vallen at iastate.edu
Mon Oct 24 21:06:48 EDT 2011
Well, Teddy was a puzzle, wasn't he? He was born a Morlock in an Eloi's mansion. He was asthmatic, near sighted, socially inept, and trigger happy, but when his father died when he was an undergraduate at Harvard, he proceeded to burn through the money like an undisciplined child. He could have sat for the portrait Wells described of the aristocracy unable/untrained/disinclined to create or sustain the icons of wealth and power they fell heir to. Had TR not stumbled into politics (and then the presidency when McKinley was shot), it's likely he would have been an awful flop.
Oh, don't get me started on TR!
From: sfra-l-bounces at charlemagne.cddc.vt.edu [sfra-l-bounces at charlemagne.cddc.vt.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Erlich [ErlichRD at MUOhio.edu]
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 7:38 PM
To: sfra-l at wiz.cath.vt.edu
Cc: Neil Easterbrook
Subject: Re: [SFRA-L] Wells TTM question: Elio and Morlock appeals
Getting in even later (and probably getting repetitive) ...
If meaning is created in the interaction of audience(s) and text(s); and, if audience members are multiply-situated; and, if identification can get quite weird — as we see in practical politics as well as art — then this is an especially intriguing question for what to make of TIME MACHINE.
A mischievous hypothetical: What would/did Teddy Roosevelt make of Eloi and Morlocks? Or, say, a rich jock football player in Dallas or Fort Worth (or a gentleman-thug rugger from Richmond's 2011 equivalent)? Or a Columbian feminist artist with Trotskyite leanings, an Olympic bronze in women's soccer, and a good deal of money?
On 17/10/2011, at 4:47, Sue & Bruce Rockwood wrote:
I come into this discussion on the tail end of the tale, but this question of the working class reader reminds me of E. P. Thompson's The Making of the English Working Class.England had a vital labor movement, which included labor education on a local decentralized level, so I would not be surprised if workers read Wells. Thompson's book got him a chair at Warwick, one of the new universities Labor created I believe, and he came out of this labor education movement.
Maybe if we offered educational programs for laid off workers, who knows what we could accomplish.
On Sun, Oct 16, 2011 at 10:52 AM, Easterbrook, Neil <n.easterbrook at tcu.edu<mailto:n.easterbrook at tcu.edu>> wrote:
I know some of you are Wells experts (hear me, Andy?), and I want to pick yr brain. I suspect that I could easily research this, but just at the moment I'm too busy (ok, too lazy).
Abt TTM: I've told my students that the setting of Richmond is significant, since then it was a wealthy town adjacent to London (what we would call a suburb, and so I make allusions to parallel areas of Fort Worth and Dallas), and this is then important to know who specifically the Eloi are descendents of: the residents of 1895 Richmond (and then more generally, the landed and wealthy classes...). (As it happens, my students are the general equivalent of the residents of 1895 Richmond.)
Which, given the events of 802701, configures the novella's audience as current residents of Richmond, the future Eloi.
But I don't know enuf abt either the specific Heinemann publication, serialization, or reading habits & markets of 1985. I know abt the explosion of pulp publication, the increase of public literacy and schooling, and so forth, especially as these are central to the development of sf (as for example, analyzed in the fine discussion of the opening chapters of Luckhurst's _SF_).
My specific question: very roughly, what percentage of Wells' 1895 audience would have been future Morlocks rather than future Eloi; said another way, was TTM read also by members of the working class; said a third way, is the construction of the "ideal" reader as a member of the upper-class merely a narrative convention or an empirical fact?
Thanks in advance for allowing me to morlock yr brains (yum-yum, and just in time for lunch).
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Richard D. Erlich, Film Script Analyst
Port Hueneme, CA 93041-3447
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