The Time Machine: the Riddle of the Sphinx

  • J. R. Hammond


The Time Machine is of literary significance as Wells’s first full-length work of fiction. It was published in book form in May 1895 after serialisation in W. E. Henley’s New Review between January and May of that year. All the evidence suggests that it was most carefully written and revised, passing through at least eight different versions from its first publication under the title ‘The Chronic Argonauts’ in 1888. Between 1889 and 1894 Wells worked away on successive versions of the story, refining, collating and improving on the various drafts. It is clear from this meticulous process of revision that he attached considerable importance to the story and recognised that it would make or break his literary reputation. Writing to his friend Elizabeth Healey in December 1894 he confided:

You may be interested to know that our ancient ‘Chronic Argonauts’ of the Science Schools Journal has at last become a complete story and will appear as a serial in the New Review for January. It’s my trump card and if it does not come off very much I shall know my place for the rest of my career.


Time Traveller Time Machine White Marble White Figure Realist Tradition 
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Copyright information

© J. R. Hammond 1988

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  • J. R. Hammond

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