History, Melancholy, and the Anthropocene: H. G. Wells on ‘Mind at the End of its Tether’

H. G. Wells confronts in his final writings a world that has experienced more than can be historically comprehended; where history seems incapable of offering succour to human life in its pursuit of intellectual repose and stability. He speaks presciently to our situation in the Anthropocene, evincing a pervasive sense of melancholy symptomatic of existence in a constantly self-historicizing world. I conclude that in the Anthropocene human beings ultimately confront an enduring mismatch between historical comprehension and the circumstances of immediate existence; a mismatch made all the more disturbing given our traditional reliance upon history to affirm our continuity with the past. Wells ultimately alerts us to a hyper-historicized world that has superseded its previous history, that has left it behind forever, and is, as the Anthropocene affirms, continuously antiquating itself with its means of technological refinement.