This article reconsiders Wells’s The Time Machine. Fin-de-siècle writers such as Oscar Wilde and Joseph Conrad are perceived as the forebears of high modernism, while Wells is seen as a representative of science and technology against early modernism’s art. The Time Machine has been pushed underground in most standard accounts of modernism. In fact, the novel cultivates its own form of aestheticism, articulating aesthetic sensation and theories of knowledge in ways typically associated with literary modernism. Its aestheticism stems from a transformation of empiricist vision. From scientific observation Wells strips away epistemological authority, leaving in its place a kernel of sensation that provides not evidence but aesthetic experience. In The Time Machine Wells envisions aesthetic experience as consolation for the erosion of empiricism’s epistemological authority. [125 words]


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pp. 459-485
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Will Be Archived 2021
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