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Front cover of edition published by T. Fisher Unwin in 1901
Source: Project Gutenberg

Certain Personal Matters, subtitled A Collection of Material Mainly Autobiographical, is a collection of 39 humorous essays and articles written by H. G. Wells and published in 1897. The material, all of which had previously been printed elsewhere, includes some of his earliest surviving journalism.[1] Not all of the material was originally published under Wells’s own name, as he occasionally wrote under pseudonyms and some journals had a policy of giving only one byline per issue, no matter how many pieces an author had contributed to it.[2] Perhaps ironically given the book’s title, only one of the essays it contains describes an identifiable event in Wells’s life; “How I died”, the concluding piece, describes his reaction to being diagnosed with tuberculosis towards the end of 1887.

Certain Personal Matters was well received; one critic called it “a very pleasant moneysworth, full of wit and humour”.[3]


  • “Thoughts on Cheapness and My Aunt Charlotte”
  • “The Trouble of Life”
  • “On the Choice of a Wife”
  • “The House of Di Sorno: A Manuscript Found in a Box”
  • “Of Conversation: An Apology”
  • “In a Literary Household”
  • “On Schooling and the Phases of Mr. Sandsome”
  • “The Poet and the Emporium”
  • “The Language of Flowers”
  • “The Literary Regimen”
  • “House-Hunting as an Outdoor Amusement”
  • “Of Blades and Bladery”
  • “Of Cleverness: Apropos of One Crichton”
  • “The Pose Novel”
  • “The Veteran Cricketer”
  • “Concerning a Certain Lady”
  • “The Shopman”
  • “The Book of Curses”
  • “Dunstone’s Dear Lady”
  • “Euphemia’s New Entertainment”
  • “For Freedom of Spelling: The Discovery of an Art”
  • “Incidental Thoughts on a Bald Head”
  • “Of a Book Unwritten”
  • “The Extinction of Man”
  • “The Writing of Essays”
  • “The Parkes Museum”
  • “Bleak March in Epping Forest”
  • “The Theory of Quotation”
  • “On the Art of Staying at the Seaside: A Meditation at Eastbourne”
  • “Concerning Chess”
  • “The Coal-Scuttle: A Study in Domestic Aesthetics”
  • “Bagarrow”
  • “The Book of Essays Dedicatory”
  • “Through a Microscope: Some Moral Reflections”
  • “The Pleasure of Quarreling”
  • “The Amateur Nature Lover”
  • “From an Observatory”
  • “The Mode in Monuments: Stray Thoughts in Highgate Cemetery”
  • “How I Died”

See also

  • H. G. Wells bibliographyA list of publications written by H. G. Wells during the more than fifty years of his literary career.



Hammond, J. R. (1979). An H. G. Wells Companion. The Macmillan Press.
Smith, D. C. (1986). H. G. Wells: Desperately Mortal: A Biography. Yale University Press.

External links