WELLS, H.G. 1866-1946.
The Time Machine: an Invention. London: W. Heinemann, 1895. 8vo. Untrimmed in original oatmeal cloth, lettering and sphinx device in purple. Free endpapers lightly browned, binding very lightly soiled chiefly to spine, else fine.
First English edition, a gift from the dedicatee William Ernest Henley to a J.D.R. Monro in August 1900, according to two pencil inscriptions in the book. Later issue, half-title with advertisements on verso but without 16-page publisher's catalogue at end.
Henley was a noted editor, man of letters, and poet - and the person who encouraged Wells to develop his early versions of The Time Machine into a full-length version. An early draft of the story appeared in a journal in 1888, as The Chronic Argonauts. It had only the bare idea of time travel and a few lines of dialogue in common with the later versions. Early in 1894, in response to a request by Henley, Wells returned to the story, and rewrote it as a series of loosely connected articles for Henley's National Observer. The articles bear a close resemblance to the final text of the novel, but are only a fraction of the length. With Henley's encouragement, Wells continued to develop the work, eventually publishing it in the present form in 1895 (Bergonzi, "The Publication of The Time Machine 1894-5," in Review of English Studies, 1960 XI(41):42-51).