Christina Alberta's Father

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Author: Herbert George "H G" Wells (1866-1946)

Year: 1925

Publisher: Jonathan Cape, Ltd

Place: London


410 pages. Small octavo (7 3/4" x 5 1/4") bound in original red cloth with gilt lettering to spine and blind stamped rule to front cover edges. First edition.

Mr. Preemby is a dreamy, unassertive man until he is persuaded, in the months following his wife's death, that he is the incarnation of Sargon, the ancient king of Sumeria, returned to restore harmony in a disordered post-WWI world. He has long been attracted to esoterica and stories of ancient Atlantis, and is persuaded that he has a special destiny by a séance at a boarding house in Royal Tunbridge Wells. Committed to a lunatic asylum, Mr. Preemby escapes and recovers some of his sanity, but dies prematurely in the winter of 1921-1922. Chris Hossett, his wife, before her demise runs the Limpid Stream Laundry with Mr. Preemby's assistance. Her only daughter, Christina Alberta, is not Mr. Preemby's natural daughter, being the fruit of a brief liaison in the summer of 1899 in the seaside resort of Sheringham. Christina is a strong personality determined to live independently. She later discovers, to their mutual surprise, her true father, Wilfred Devizes, a psychologist, during her search for Mr. Preemby. Devizes serves as a mouthpiece for many of H.G. Wells's social ideas in the latter half of the novel, such as the notion that "True education [is] self-subordination to a greater life, to the social self. "Christina Alberta's Father also features two other important characters: Paul Lambone, a successful writer who befriends Christina Alberta and is mostly treated in a comic vein, and Robert "Bobby" Roothing, an aspiring writer. Bobby finds "Sargon" appealing, in part because he is a veteran of military service in Mesopotamia during the First World War, and helps Mr. Preemby find a room during his "Sargon" phase, counseling him and then rescuing him from the asylum at Cummerdown Hill by taking him to lodgings in Dymchurch. Bobby falls in love with Christina Alberta, who reciprocates but refuses to marry him in order to maintain her independence.


Gently bumped corners. Some light soiling, light edge wear with some closed edge tears else a very good to fine copy in a better than very good jacket.

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