Recent scholarship on The Time Machine has changed in emphasis, critics departing from the traditional perspective on the scientific romance as utopian satire or class parable, instead emphasizing the more self-conscious aspects of the text, whether this is its enacting of anxieties about the purpose and permanence of literature or presenting a skepticism of empiricism and science and embrace of a kind of idiosyncratic aestheticism. This article follows this tendency in interpretation of The Time Machine but rethinks its contours, focusing on the novel's narrative and aesthetic characteristics, particularly as these interact with Wells's scientific preoccupations by reading it in another way, in light of the practice of the scientific thought experiment. Reading Wells's novel in this light shows that the interactions between science, narrative and imagination in his work are deeper, more intricate, and perhaps even more disquieting, than has previously been appreciated.


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pp. 376-399
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Ceased Publication
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