'The man's become inhuman ...He has cut himself off from his kind. His blood be upon his own head.' One night in the depths of winter, a bizarre and sinister stranger wrapped in bandages and eccentric clothing arrives in a remote English village. His peculiar, secretive activities in the room he rents spook the locals. Speculation about his identity becomes horror and disbelief when the villagers discover that, beneath his disguise, he is invisible. Griffin, as the man is called, is an embittered scientist who is determined to exploit his extraordinary gifts, developed in the course of brutal self-experimentation, in order to conduct a Reign of Terror on the sleepy inhabitants of England. As the police close in on him, he becomes ever more desperate and violent. In this pioneering novella, subtitled 'A Grotesque Romance', Wells combines comedy, both farcical and satirical, and tragedy - to superbly unsettling effect. Since its publication in 1897, The Invisible Man has haunted not only popular culture (in particular cinema) but also the greatest and most experimental novels of the twentieth century.
Matthew Beaumont is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at University College London. He is the author of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, Chaucer to Dickens (2015) and The Spectre of Utopia: Utopian and Science Fictions at the Fin de Siecle (2012). He has edited Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and Walter Pater's Studies in the History of the Renaissance for Oxford World's Classics.