“The Man with a Nose” is a short story by the English author H. G. Wells, first published in the Pall Mall GazetteThe Pall Mall Gazette was an evening newspaper launched in London on 7 February 1865. It introduced investigative journalism into British journalism, along with other innovations. in 1894 and subsequently reprinted in Select Conversations with an Uncle (1895). Told as a first-person narrative by an unidentified narrator, it tells of one man’s reflections on his unsightly nose.
The narrator is sitting at one end of a bench at the top of Primrose Hill in London, overlooking Regent’s Park. The man seated at the other end of the bench suddenly blurts out “My nose has been the curse of my life.” The narrator turns to the man and declares that he sees nothing remarkable about his nose, but it is dark, so the man lights a match to better display it; “I have seen worse”, says the narrator after a long pause. But the man with the nose is unconvinced, comparing it to “a bit of primordial chaos clapped on to my face”.
The man goes on to tell of the torment he has suffered because of the “preposterous” size of his nose and its range of colours. He dwells on how no woman could ever love him with such a nose, even a blind one, as she would still be able to feel the shape of it. So he has taken to only going out in public after dark, but tomorrow he must attend a social gathering organised by his cousin, a gifted hostess, whom he says has promised her other guests his nose as a treat. With that the man gets up and wanders off into the dimness of the night.
H. G. Wells bibliographyA list of publications written by H. G. Wells during the more than fifty years of his literary career.