Certain Personal Matters is an 1897 collection of essays selected by H. G. Wells from among the many short essays and ephemeral pieces he had written since 1893. The book consists of thirty-nine pieces ranging from about eight hundred to two thousand words in length.
The essays in Certain Personal Matters rely on stock characters that Wells developed in his early days as a writer. This vein was inspired by his reading of When a Man's Single, an 1888 novel by J.M. Barrie, in which a character explains that saleable articles can be devised from everyday things like pipes, umbrellas, and flower pots. According to biographer David C. Smith, one character is ”probably based on his father (and perhaps partly on his older brothers), another based on his mother apparently (although the character is always referred to as an 'aunt', which may be somewhat symbolic), and a third character, 'Euphemia'. This last is usually thought to be a portrait of Jane Wells, though the figure may have some traits of Isabel (Wells's cousin and first wife) as well.”