The World of William Clissold Vol. 1 by H. G. Wells
Though this novel was first published in 1926, with a preface strenuously denying that it was anything but a work of fiction, William Clissold is nevertheless a character whose thought and background is so thoroughly documented in the work that the reader cannot help identifying him to some extent with Wells himself (so much so that Wells's agent feared a libel case on its original publication). This is not such a fault in an author as interesting as H. G. Wells, as Conrad Aiken remarked: 'As a survey of the modern world from a 'liberal' point of view ... The World of William Clissold is impressive. The range of Mr Wells's mind is encyclopaedic. He covers everything, he leaves nothing out - his novel is a 'liberal' education in itself.' Wells later admitted in An Experiment in Autobiography that the book was indeed a self-dramatization. The protagonist intends to make a fresh start for himself, and also for the world. And in his intentions we see Wells, the great socialist utopian's own ideal of progress, as he conceived it at this point in his developing thought. This is H. G. Wells's most monumental effort in novel-writing and appears in Faber Finds in three volumes.