Ann Veronica
  • Publication Date: December 1, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554812301 / 1554812305
  • 376 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Ann Veronica

  • Publication Date: December 1, 2015
  • ISBN: 9781554812301 / 1554812305
  • 376 pages; 5½" x 8½"

H.G. Wells’s 1909 novel centres on the coming of age of the spirited Ann Veronica, who runs away from her sheltered suburban home to live in London. There she mingles with feminists, studies biology, learns jiu jitsu, and even participates in a suffragette raid on the House of Commons that lands her in jail. When originally published, the novel was deemed “poisonous” for its bold treatment of an adulterous romance that only lightly veiled Wells’s extramarital affairs. While critics debate whether the shift to romance undermines the novel’s feminist themes, readers continue to be engaged by its vividly realized heroine and its rich portrayal of the tumultuous social movements of Edwardian London.

Historical documents expand on the novel’s autobiographical dimension with letters between Wells and Amber Reeves, the model for Ann Veronica; also included are materials on the suffrage movement, attempts to censor the novel, and the New Woman.


“A fitting representation of Wells’s series of social romances, in this new edition Ann Veronica assumes enhanced value as an examination of the ‘Woman Question’ at the turn of the twentieth century. Carey Snyder’s fine introduction and her selection of texts for the appendices encourage readers to join in the sort of debate that Wells strove to inspire in his fiction. Notably Snyder appreciates the lifelong accomplishments of Amber Reeves, whose youthful affair with Wells was the inspiration for the lively central character. There are also some well-selected primary texts recording the views of Wells on his own work, the arguments of would-be censors, the Fabians, the suffrage movement, modernist reviewers, and Beatrice Hastings of The New Age.” — Bonnie Kime Scott, Professor Emerita, San Diego State University and the University of Delaware

“Carey Snyder has produced a splendid new edition of H.G. Wells’s under-read take on the social and literary phenomenon of the New Woman. The novel itself, like most of Wells’s work, is a great read, and Snyder supplies a first-rate introduction that locates Ann Veronica in its moment—the woman’s suffrage movement, debates about marriage, chastity, sexual candor, and socialism—as well a rich selection of appendices reproducing a wide range of contextual documents, from John Ruskin on separate spheres for men and women to selections of letters to Wells from Amber Reeves, one of the historical/autobiographical models for his eponymous heroine. By situating Ann Veronica so deftly in its own moment, Snyder lets it speak to ours.” — Mark Wollaeger, Vanderbilt University

“Snyder’s terrific edition does justice to Ann Veronica’s experiments in the modern and to the implications of the ‘modern romance’ of its subtitle. Its introduction and notes assist readers with understanding contemporary contexts and debates, while its appendices provide readers with tools to extend their analyses of the novel’s engagement with, among other topics, feminism, theories of modern fiction, socialism, censorship, evolutionary biology, urban life, and contrary notions of ‘modernity.’” — Elizabeth F. Evans, Modernism/modernity

H.G. Wells: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

Ann Veronica

Appendix A: Reception of Ann Veronica

  1. From John O’London, T.P.’s Weekly (22 October 1909)
  2. From [John St Loe Strachey,] “A Poisonous Book,” Spectator (20 November 1909)
  3. From H.G. Wells’s reply, Spectator (4 December 1909)
  4. From Freda Kirchwey, “A Private Letter to H.G. Wells,” Nation (28 November 1928)
  5. B[eatrice] H[astings] and K[atherine] M[ansfield], A Parody of Ann Veronica, The New Age (25 May 1911)

Appendix B: Wells on Ann Veronica

  1. From the Preface to the Atlantic Edition of The Works of H.G. Wells (1925)
  2. From “Writings about Sex,” Experiment in Autobiography (1934)

Appendix C: Ann Veronica and Censorship

  1. John Littlejohns, Front Cover of The New Age (3 February 1910)
  2. “A Public Librarian,” Spectator (December 1909)
  3. From Jacob Tonson [Arnold Bennett], “Books and Persons,” The New Age (24 February 1910)

Appendix D: Wells and the Debate over Modern Fiction

  1. From H.G. Wells, “The Contemporary Novel,” An Englishman Looks at the World (1914)
  2. From Henry James, “The Younger Generation,” Times Literary Supplement (2 April 1914)
  3. From Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction,” The Common Reader (1925)

Appendix E: Challenging the Domestic Ideal

  1. From John Ruskin, “Of Queens’ Gardens,” Sesame and Lilies (1865)
  2. From Mona Caird, “Marriage,” Westminster Review (August 1888)
  3. From Olive Schreiner, Woman and Labour (1911)
  4. From Dora Marsden, “Bondswomen and Freewomen,” Freewoman (23 November 1911)
  5. From Fabian Women’s Group, “Three Year’s Work” (1911)
  6. From M.A. [Mabel Atkinson], “The Economic Foundations of the Women’s Movement” (1914)

Appendix F: Wells on the Patriarchal Family and Evolution

  1. From Socialism and the Family (1906)
  2. From “Human Evolution, An Artificial Process,” Fortnightly Review (October 1896)

Appendix G: The Amber Reeves Affair

  1. H.G. Wells, “Dusa” (1936)
  2. Photograph of Amber Reeves in 1908 Student Group
  3. From the Diary of Beatrice Webb (1908, 1909)
  4. From Letters from Amber Reeves to H.G. Wells (1908, 1939)
  5. Photograph of Amber and Anna Jane Blanco White (1910)

Appendix H: The Suffrage Movement

  1. From Christabel Pankhurst, A Speech Delivered at Queen’s Hall (22 December 1908)
  2. From Emmeline Pankhurst, A Speech Delivered at Queen’s Hall (2 December 1910)
  3. From Belfort Bax, “Feminism and Female Suffrage,” The New Age (30 May 1908)
  4. From Beatrice Tina [Beatrice Hastings], “Woman as State Creditor,” The New Age (27 June 1907)
  5. From Beatrice Tina [Beatrice Hastings], “Suffragettes in the Making,” The New Age (3 December 1908)
  6. From D. Triformis [Beatrice Hastings], “The Failure of Militancy,” The New Age (20 January 1911)
  7. From Millicent Garrett Fawcett, Women’s Suffrage: A Short History of a Great Movement (1912)
  8. From Teresa Billington-Grieg, “Emancipation in a Hurry,” The New Age (12 January 1911)
  9. H.G. Wells, “Reply to Symposium on Women’s Suffrage,” The New Age (2 February 1911)
  10. M.C. Rock, “[And the Words]” (1914)
  11. “The Suffragettes and Their Trojan Horse,” Auckland Star (28 March 1908)
  12. Arthur Wallis Mills, “The Suffragette that Knew Jiu-Jitsu,” Punch (6 July 1910)
  13. Suffragettes Selling Votes for Women at Oval Cricket Ground Entrance (1908)

Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Carey Snyder is Associate Professor of English at Ohio University.