VIRGINIA WOOLF (essay date 1919)

If we speak of quarrelling with Mr. Wells, Mr. Bennett,
and Mr. Galsworthy it is partly by the mere fact of their
existence in the flesh of their work has a living, breathing,
everyday imperfection which bids us take what liberties with it
we choose. . . .If we tried to formulate our meaning in one
word we should say that these three writers are materialists.

It is because they are concerned not with the spirit but with
the body that they have disappointed us, and left us with the
feeling that the sooner English fiction turns its back upon them,
as polite as may be, and marches, if only into the desert, the
better for its soul.  Naturally, no single word reaches the
centre of the three separate targets.  In the case of Mr. Wells
it falls notably wide of the mark.  And yet even with him it
indicates to our thinking the fatal alloy in his genius, the
great clod of clay that has got itself mixed up with the purity
of his inspiration. . . .It can scarcely be said of Mr. Wells
that he is a materialist in the sense that he takes too much
delight in the solidity of his fabric.  His mind is much too
generous in his sympathies to allow him to spend much time in
making things shipshape and substantial.  He is a materialist
from sheer goodness of heart, taking upon his shoulders the work
that ought to have been discharged by Government officials, and
in the plethora of his ideas and facts scarcely having leisure to
realise, or forgetting to think important, the crudity and
coarseness of his human beings.  Yet what more damaging criticism
can there be both of his earth and of his Heaven than that they
are to be inhabited hereafter by his Joans and his Peters?  Does
not the inferiority of their natures tarnish whatever
institutions and ideals may be provided for them by the
generosity of their creator? (pp 208-10)
If we fasten, then, one label on all these books, on which is one word materialists, we mean by it that 
they write of unimportant things: that they spend immense skill and immense industry making the trivial
and the transitory appear the true and the enduring. (p. 210)
from Virginia Woolf's MODERN FICTION.

                         Works Cited:                                          
     Haining, Peter, ed. _The H. G. Wells Scrapbook_.                          
                         London: New English Library, 1978.                    
     -------------------._Twentieth-century Literary Criticism_.               
                         50 vols. Detroit: Gale Research, 1978-                
     Locations in volumes: 6:523, 533-34, 538, 547-55, 12:487-88,              
                           501, 506, 508-11; 19:420, 424, 428-31,              
                           434, 436-39, 441-42, 446-50, 452.