Whenever a publisher gets a book by one author he wants an Introduction written to it by another, and Mr. Fisher Unwin is no exception to the rule. Nobody reads Introductions, they serve no useful purpose, and they give no pleasure, but they appeal to the business mind, I think, because as a rule they cost nothing. At any rate, by the pressure of a certain inseparable intimacy between Mr. Reginald Bliss and myself, this Introduction has been extracted from me. I will confess that I have not read his book through, though I have a kind of first-hand knowledge of its contents, and that it seems to me an indiscreet, ill-advised book…
I have a very strong suspicion that this Introduction idea is designed to entangle me in the responsibility for the book. In America, at any rate, “The Life of George Meek, Bath Chairman,” was ascribed to me upon no better evidence. Yet any one who likes may go to Eastbourne and find Meek with chair and all complete. But in view of the complications of the book market and the large simplicities of the public mind, I do hope that the reader – and by that I mean the reviewer – will be able to see the reasonableness and the necessity of distinguishing between me and Mr. Reginald Bliss. I do not wish to escape the penalties of thus participating in, and endorsing, his manifest breaches of good taste, literary decorum, and friendly obligation, but as a writer whose reputation is already too crowded and confused and who is for the ordinary purposes of every day known mainly as a novelist, I should be glad if I could escape the public identification I am now repudiating. Bliss is Bliss and Wells is Wells. And Bliss can write all sorts of things that Wells could not do.
This Introduction has really no more to say than that.
H. G. WELLS.