Lynn, Andrea E. 1944-
LYNN, Andrea E. 1944-
PERSONAL: Born May 24, 1944, in Evanston, IL; daughter of Harry and Helyn Kramer; married John A. Lynn (a professor), June 13, 1965; children: Daniel Morgan, Nathanael Greene. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Attended University of Illinois, 1962-65; University of California, Los Angeles, B.A., 1970; attended graduate school, University of Illinois, 1980s, 1990s. Hobbies and other interests: Travel, photography, cooking.
ADDRESSES: Home—910 West Hill St., Champaign, IL 61821. Offıce—University of Illinois, 807 South Wright St., Champaign, IL 61820. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Freelance writer and editor. University of Illinois, Champaign, writer and media specialist, 1982—. Former columnist for Penobscot Times, Old Town, ME.
MEMBER: H. G. Wells Society (United States), H. G. Wells Society (United Kingdom), Modern Language Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: First prize for biography, Society of Midland Authors, 2002, for Shadow Lovers: The Last Affairs of H. G. Wells; research and travel grants.
(Editor) Old Town Bicentennial Cookbook, Penobscot Times Press, 1976.
Shadow Lovers: The Last Affairs of H. G. Wells, West-view Press (Boulder, CO), 2001.
Editor of TV and Politics Watch (newsletter), Donhowe, 1992-2000.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Editing the correspondence of H. G. Wells and Christabel Aberconway, and the girl-hood diary of Constance Coolidge; research on seventeenth-century French girl who masqueraded as a soldier (joint project with husband, John A. Lynn).
SIDELIGHTS: Andrea E. Lynn is the author of Shadow Lovers: The Last Affairs of H. G. Wells. The title is taken from the term Wells used in describing his elusive perfect love, whom he searched for late into a life filled with lovers. Lynn draws on papers newly released by the Wells estate in documenting these women, many of them decades younger than the author who wrote nearly 100 books, including War of the Worlds, and who continues to influence the genre of science fiction.
Lynn discusses the three women Wells pursued when he was in his late sixties. They include Moura Budberg, who lived for a time with Maxim Gorky, and two Americans. Constance Coolidge was a beautiful and sought-after Bostonian, and Martha Gellhorn of St. Louis would later marry Ernest Hemingway. They were among many women Wells bedded in his search for the perfect mate, "like some dreamy-eyed Quester for the Holy Grail," noted Terry Eagleton in the London Guardian. Eagleton continued, saying that Wells "was not the most plausible candidate for such a spiritual voyage, being fat, balding, large-headed, diabetic, short, and stocky, with a squeaky voice that sounded like a pencil on a slate. He was also petulant, mean-minded, and pathologically jealous. . . . According to one lover, however, his body 'smelt of honey.' Rebecca West, who had an illegitimate son by him, compared his physical presence to seeing Nureyev dance. It is remarkable what penning a few science-fiction stories can do for a sparse-haired antisemitic runt." Lynn also describes Wells's relationship with Margaret Sanger, founder of the birth control movement.
Wells was drawn to spies, including French agent and author Odette Keun, and Budberg, his last lover, a Ukranian who ensnared special agents and who was a mystery even to her own children. The action moves from Chicago to Russia and includes cameo roles by Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Leon Trotsky, Somerset Maugham, and André Malraux. Wells was a shopkeeper's son who pursued wealthy, young, and beautiful "trophy women" in an attempt to raise his own status, and he was successful in attracting these women who wanted to be with him, drawn by his charisma, intellect, and sexual energy. But as Lynn points out, he was incapable of real intimacy.
Library Journal's Ron Ratliff called Lynn's analysis "well done." A Publishers Weekly contributor called the author "a gifted storyteller," but felt that because of Shadow Lover's limited focus, the book would be most welcome by Wells fans. "The rest of the nation's readers can wait and hope that Lynn's keen eye will soon turn with equal gusto to a more broadly appealing subject," concluded the reviewer.
Lynn told CA: "After writing hundreds of news and feature stories based on research in the humanities at the University of Illinois, I leapt into my own project on H. G. Wells, eventually spending seven years doing the research and writing while working full-time. What motivated me to start writing the book was the story and the real-life characters. I kept saying to myself, 'Someone should tell this story,' and as I became more and more drawn into it, I realized I was the right person and I was at the right time in my life—children grown and all that. "Constance Hunting, a poet and founding editor of the Puckerbrush Press, once told me in a creative writing course that I was a natural writer, but it would be twenty-five years before I discovered that for myself in a long and complex writing project. Quite unbeknownst to myself, I discovered that I adored research—the hunt; it not only energized me, but offered the occasion to meet literally hundreds of fascinating people in many of the world's most fascinating cities."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Choice, May, 2002, J. Overmyer, review of ShadowLovers, p. 1585.
Guardian (London, England), June 22, 2002, Terry Eagleton, review of Shadow Lovers.
Library Journal, January, 2002, Ron Ratliff, review of Shadow Lovers, p. 104.
M2 Best Books, May 22, 2002, "New Book Explores H. G. Wells's Romantic Affairs."
Publishers Weekly, December 10, 2001, review of Shadow Lovers, p. 59.
Times Literary Supplement, July 5, 2002, Caroline Moorehead, review of Shadow Lovers, p. 36.