SAM Seminar Series: An animal among the animals: H. G. Wells and the Thought of the Future

When:16 May 2017, 5pm - 6:30pm
Venue:Cinema 327, Robert Webster Building
Who:Chris Danta, UNSW
HG Wells

In this paper, I discuss how H. G. Wells develops a narrative technique in his early scientific romances The Time MachineThe War of the Worlds and The Island of Doctor Moreau of animalizing the present. Wells critiques anthropocentrism in his early fiction, I argue, by showing the character-narrator becoming like an animal in the present. He disrupts the type of mind that would seek solace in the historical past by constructing a non-anthropocentric narrative present that registers in equal measure the posthuman future and the prehuman past. In Wells’ early fiction, the present thus becomes an uncomfortably anachronistic site from which reader and narrator are forced to glimpse not just the undiscovered future but also the remote past of the evolutionary narrative. 

Chris Danta is Senior Lecturer in English in the School of the Arts and Media at UNSW and the author of Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot (Bloomsbury, 2011). He has just finished the manuscript of his second monograph, The Scientific Ape: On the Post-Darwinian Animal Fable, from which this paper derives.

SAM Seminar Series

This series provides a showcase and forum for local as well as international scholars, researchers, industry practitioners and creative artists – ranging from early-career to well-established – to present on their work.

Find out more and see the full program.
Enquiries contact: SAM Seminar Convenor, Collin Chua –

Finding us
Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. Cinema 327 is located on the third floor.

More information on getting to UNSW.
Download a campus map. (PDF)

View Past Events
Join our Newsletters