Evolution Theory In The Time Machine

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Herbert George Wells is well known for The Time Machine; a science fiction novel which is often considered to be the first of its kind. Wells’s scientific background (having studied biology and being a science teacher (Nicholson)) helped creating this story and its genre. It also contains elements of the evolution theory which may have originated from having Thomas Henry Huxley, who was a strong advocate of Darwinism, as a teacher (Desmond). Therefore, The Time Machine is a scientific tale within the scientific paradigm of the evolution theory. However, the themes of degeneration and social inequality are being dramatized and create a social critique of the Victorian era; Wells expresses his opinions and critique on (the future of) mankind and its social degeneration by employing it to the fictional characters of the Eloi and the Morlocks. The novel was first published in 1895 and, most importantly, near a fin-de-siècle (the end of an entire era in civilization). This period is of relevance since it marked an age of uncertainty. People were either eager, or scared, to know what would happen in the next century and it created an obsession and “prevalent feeling […] of imminent perdition and extinction” (Nordau 2). This, combined with the already acquired fascinations of evolution theories (like Darwin’s), resulted into newer, more negative degeneration theories (Liebregts). As mentioned earlier, Wells was a supporter of devolution theories and an even stronger advocate of
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