Lucas, E V

Tagged: Author

(1868-1938) UK editor, publisher (chairman of Methuen from 1924) and author who produced a huge number of "weekend" essays and sketches, many of them originally published in Punch over a span of thirty years, and also a number of tamely belletristic travel books. Typically, the Dictionary of National Biography does not refer by name to his early Parodies which, all the same, unlike the bulk of his 180 books (almost none of which are now read), retain some life. Of these, The War of the Wenuses: Translated from the Artesian of H G Pozzuoli (1898), with C L Graves (1856-1944), is of interest as a mildly sexist Parody of H G Wells's The War of the Worlds (April-December 1897 Pearson's; 1898), in which the Invasion of Earth by females from Venus proves successful; not implausibly, given the class-ridden condescension that colours Lucas's belles-lettres in general, E F Bleiler suggests that the substitution of W for V is a slap at Wells's Cockney origins. Wisdom while You Wait: Being a Foretaste of the Glories of the "Insidecompletuar Britanniaware" (1903), also with Graves, mocks the future Americanization of the world in the form of a spoof encyclopedia; further joint titles, in a similar vein, include England Day by Day: A Guide to Efficiency and Prophetic Calendar for 1904 (1903) and If: A Nightmare in the Conditional Mood (1908). Sir Pulteney (1910 chap) as by E D Ward – a pseudonym which is simply Lucas's first name – is fantasy, featuring a hotel with an Antigravity garden for the use of suicides. Wells and the young Winston Churchill make appearances. In Gentlest Germany: Translated from the Svengalese (1915) as by Hun Svedend applies a similar technique to World War One. [JC]

Edward Verrall Lucas

born Eltham, Kent: 12 June 1868

died London: 26 June 1938

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