Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pearson's Magazine on the Isle of Wight

Today, being such a beautiful Spring day, I decided to bunk-off work sitting here at the desk and caught the ferry across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The walk down the pier at Ryde, all 681 metres of it, was simply glorious today. So, it was on the Island that I bought a copy of the 1897 Volume 4 of Pearson's Magazine which, if it were simply an ordinary Victorian story magazine, might have been priced about right at £15. However, this is one of the two volumes of Pearson's which contains the original serial publication of H. G. Wells's War of the Worlds, replete with wonderfully atmospheric illustrations by Warwick Goble. In the past I have had both volumes in the original presentation binding of grey-green cloth with art nouveau style decoration and those sold for a substantial sum. This copy is just the one volume (the second half of the story) and is in a much plainer binding but remains a nice find.

Is it just me or does Warwick Goble's depiction of the hero/protagonist look quite a lot like a cross between Richard Burton and Rudyard Kipling?

Given the subsequent history of War of the Worlds, all the way down to Hollywood blockbuster with Tom Cruise in the lead, it's refreshing to read in the 'summary' at the head of each part, the rather prosaic, "The inhabitants of Mars invade the Earth, descending at Woking".

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