The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells. Being once sensational book, it amazed humanity of those days with its fresh, original style and grand new theme of alien invasion. The novel was rather challenging for those days and popular for a long time. But I believe, that there are also nowadays some people, like me, who find this book to be one of the greatest examples of science fiction. For this reason I have decided to analyse and compare three Wikipedia articles on The War of the Worlds.
A Closer Look on Depicted Information: From the Header to the Book Adaptations
The close observation and analysis of the articles, written in English, German and Russian, showed that all three articles are not translated from each other. Moreover, they give different information, concerning the plot, background and analysis of book.
The header contains a short depiction of the novel: it is given in English very broadly in contrast to the Russian and German articles. It gives a short summary of the novel and some information about magazines, other books, films, that have been spawned by this novel.
In the Russian article we are also given the short description of the novel, namely, that it is about the Martian invasion of the world. There is also the information, which is not given in the other two articles, that the book was dedicated to Wells’ brother, who proposed the storyline.
The German article in its turn also shortly depicts the main information about the book together with mentioning the German translation of the novel1 and its presentation as a radio play2 and several film adaptations. Further on, the German article deals mostly with the radio plays and the effect of it on community. After a very short depiction of the plot of the book, the author of the German article reports about the broadcast play, which was read on the US radio station in the form of a fictive reportage on the evening of October, 30 in 1938, the evening before Halloween. This led to the violent irritations among the population of New York and New Jersey, who held the radio play for an authentic report. The German article describes mostly not the book itself, but the radio plays, new interpretations, filmings, comics and further processings.
As for the Russian article, it illustrates the plot of the novel in depth and gives some quotations from the book3 to portray the Martians and their machines. In the Russian article the readers are also given a critical overview of the book. Like in the English article, the whole passage is dedicated to Wells’ commentary on the colonial politic of the United Kingdom and the British Imperialism. Unique and distinctive in the Russian article is the passage about “the technical and notional mistakes” of the book, where the article in detail reflects some geographical, physical and other discripances, made by H.G.Wells in the setting or the plot of the novel.
In both articles, Russian and German, there is no information about the reception of the book. Only the English article depicts briefly (that is in one sentence) how favourably the book was received by readers and critics4.
Also the most detailed observation of the book is made, of course, in the English article, where we can get to know the development of the plot in both books separately (The War of the Worlds is, by the way, devided into two books). The book is minutely analysed here from the perspectives of Natural Selection, Social Darwinism, Human Evolution, Colonialism and Imperialism, Religion and Science and so on. And only one little last passage deals with adaptations, where the radio broadcast of 1938 only briefly mentioned.
The Structure in Numbers
In conclusion, I would like to represent the articles in numbers. All in all, here is the length of their contents: the German one has 17 485 signs with spaces (with 10 sections in the contents); the Russian – is not too much longer than the German article – 17 618 sins with spaces (with 11 sections in the contents). The English article is on its well-earned first place with 49 625 signs with spaces and 16 sections in the contents.
As for the verification of the texts, the English article is the most verified one with 64 references, 5 sources in bibliography (all in English) and 7 external links. The Russian has 24 references, 3 external links on Russian sources and no bibliography. The German – 4 references (3 of which are in English and – in French), 1 mentioned book in bibliography (in English) and 7 external links.
After the analysis of these articles I have come to the conclusion that the fullest and the most thorough one is the English article. This can be explained by the origin of the author and belonging of his works to the English literature, well studied by English-speaking theorists and critics.
- Gottlieb August Crüwell,1901 [↩]
- Hörspiel,1938 [↩]
- Но что я увидел! Как мне это описать? Громадный, выше домов треножник, шагавший по молодой сосновой поросли и ломавший на своём пути сосны; машину из блестящего металла, топтавшую вереск; стальные, спускавшиеся с неё тросы; производимый ею грохот; сливавшийся с раскатами грома. Блеснула молния и треножник чётко выступил из мрака; он стоял на одной ноге, две другие повисли в воздухе. Он исчезал и появлялся при новой вспышке молнии уже на сотню ярдов ближе. Можете вы себе представить складной стул, который, покачиваясь переступает по земле? Таково было это видение при мимолетных вспышках молнии. Но вместо стула представьте себе громадную машину, установленную на треножнике. [↩]
- The War of the Worlds was generally received very favourably by both readers and critics upon its publication. There was however some criticism of the brutal nature of the events in the narrative. [↩]