Author(s): H. G. Wells
The Invisible Man stands out as possessing one of the most complicated heroes, or perhaps anti-heroes, in literature. Griffin is not a naïve dreamer such as Moreau’s Pendick or a hapless victim of circumstances like the unnamed narrator of The War of the Worlds. He is a man of great genius and great faults. Perhaps closest in character to the time traveler, the invisible man wants to the change the world through his invention. Griffin’s genius, however, is selfish—no one profits from his experiments, not even himself. A thoroughly unlikeable character defined by impulsiveness, arrogance, rudeness, and, at times, violence, Griffin is a man of the late-nineteenth century—he is a man of the future. The Invisible Man is not only a commentary on the great spirit of invention that elevated the nineteenth century but also a warning against the eugenic and self-interested policies that almost destroyed the twentieth century.
This edition includes a valuable collection of the nineteenth-century narratives of invisibility that inspired Wells’s novel; an appendix also gathers four different versions of the novel’s ending. The historical appendices focus on the novel’s scientific and cultural contexts, including material on X-rays, albinism, and radio waves.