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Mr Britling Sees It Through

And Now War Ends, The War That Will End War, The Better Government of the World

war novel world pamphlet

a novel by H. G. Wells, published in 1916. Set on the eve of the First World War, the novel concerns Hugh Britling, a well-known author resembling Wells himself, who presides over a pleasant and well-run household in the Essex village of Matching's Easy. Here he is visited by an American friend, Mr Direck, to whom he confides his view that war is by no means inevitable, as long as the spirit of rationality prevails, and that, as a civilized country, Germany can have no real intention of severing its connections with the rest of the civilized world. The pamphlet he writes, expressing this entirely logical but misguided point of view, is entitled And Now War Ends—an allusion to Wells's own work, The War That Will End War (1914). Britling's optimism proves ill-founded and he becomes increasingly disillusioned. His son enlists and is later killed in action, his death further undermining Britling's idealistic belief in the coming of a new world order. The novel ends with Britling's painful attempts to resurrect his optimism about the future by writing another pamphlet, The Better Government of the World, about post-war reconstruction. In the context of the novel, this is seen as a brave, but perhaps futile, exercise.

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