The fad of rediscovering God has reached Mr. Wells.1 Started by Tolstoy (who has since backed his case by fathering a brand new revolution)2 it has reached most of the Clever People, including Bernard Shaw, who tried to startle us last year with his preface to Androcles and the Lion.3 But Mr. Wells has added very little. Like Victor Hugo,4 he has nothing but genius and is not of the slightest practical help. Neither a pacifist nor a crusader, he has been wise enough to keep God out of the war, which is only what the sanest people have been doing all along; if any war was ever made on earth, it is this one.
If there is anything older than the old story, it is the new twist. Mr. Wells supplies this by neatly dividing God into a Creator and a Redeemer. On the whole we should welcome God, the Invisible King as an entertaining addition to our supply of fiction for light summer reading.
(God, the Invisible King by H. G. Wells; MacMillan Co.)
1. English writer H. G. Wells (1866-1946), whose “quest novels” influenced the writing of This Side of Paradise.
2. Around 1876 Russian novelist Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) embraced a form of Christianity that involved renouncing his wealth. Fitzgerald suggests that his action inspired the Russian Revolution of 1917.
3. In his preface to Androcles and the Lion (1916), Shaw portrayed Christ and Christianity as revolutionary, practical, and unlikely to be embraced by people in influential positions.
4. French novelist and poet (1802-1885) best known as the author of the 1831 novel Notre-Dame de Paris (The Hunchback of Notre Dame).
Published in The Nassau Literary Magazine (June 1917).