Wells’s early circulation

As a first foray into reception and circulation, spend some time on the following documents related to The Time Machine. Do not read exhaustively here; skim strategically. At the same time, try to look around the periodical contexts for some of the items below.


Consider the periodical contexts of initial publication by browsing around some of the parts of the two serial publications leading to The Time Machine:

Edinburgh National Observer version

The British Periodicals database has scans of this earliest version of the novel:

  1. Time Traveling: Possibility or Paradox?” (March 17, 1894)
  2. The Time Machine” (March 24)
  3. A.D. 12,203: A Glimpse of the Future” (March 31)
  4. The Refinement of Humanity: A.D. 12,203” (April 21)
  5. The Sunset of Mankind” (April 28)
  6. In the Underworld” (May 19)
  7. The Time Traveler Returns” (June 23)

New Review version

This revised serialization is bizarrely inaccessible in the British Periodicals database, but the HathiTrust database of book scans gives us images:

First book versions

The first book edition was Heinemann’s, published in 1895; HathiTrust has a scan. The first American edition was issued by Henry Holt; again a scan is on HathiTrust. Most other book versions in HathiTrust are barred by copyright restrictions.

Further note, 9/17/20. An important catalogue-searching lesson: sometimes texts are published under other titles. Also available in HathiTrust is the 1924 republication of The Time Machine in The Works of H.G. Wells: Atlantic Edition, vol. 1 (London: Fisher Unwin, 1924); this is the version with reorganized chapters that is found in many reprints. Wells supplied a preface with some interesting remarks.


Two publishers’ ads for the book:

  1. A Heinemann announcement, London Publishers’ Circular, April 27, 1895: 1. Look for Wells twice.

  2. A Holt ad in the New York Bookman 1, no. 6 (July 1895): advertising supplement.


National Observer, July 27, 1895: 327.

Publishers’ Circular, June 22, 1895: 685.

Israel Zangwill, “Without Prejudice,” Pall Mall Magazine 7, no. 29 (September 1895): 153–55. Skim.

New Writers,” Bookman 8, no. 47 (August 1895): 134–35. Not a review but a profile.

Author: AG

Associate Professor, Department of English, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

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