The Anatomy of Frustration


TO the generation of readers immediately pre-1 ceding the Great War, H. G. Wells (as a member of a deputation remonstrated with the Minister of Fine Arts, “On ne dit pas Monsieur Renoir, on dit Renoir”) was the great illuminator, revealing the power of science to transform the material world, but on the men of science themselves his action has been different. He has awakened them to a consciousness of social disorder, disorder remediable by the application to mankind of the methods by which science is learning to control the other departments of Nature. In the laboratories either of the universities or the works, in the shops wherever the technicians congregate, the talk and thought are permeated by Wells, even though the participators have never read one of his books. Some of these men get labelled ‘communists’ because of then impatience with current government by slogans and the canons of good form; others incline to Fascism in the hope that a dictator would get things done. Even Wells has flirted with the Fascist idea of the need of a great man, though his leader would be the entrepreneur who had proved his quality in big business. Whatever the particular manifestation may be, the young workers in science to-day no longer regard ‘polities' as unworthy of their interest; they are looking for social reconstruction directed by science, and consciously or not, Wells has been the catalyst that has initiated the reaction.

The Anatomy of Frustration:

a Modern Synthesis. By H. G. Wells. Pp. 274. (London: The Cresset Press, Ltd., 1936.) 7s. 6d. net.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

HALL, A. The Anatomy of Frustration. Nature 138, 779–780 (1936).

Download citation


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.