There are over 20 editions of An Experiment with Time published in the UK alone. Which is the best one to get? It's a tricky question. Dunne deliberately kept bringing them out, to keep people buying the latest one. He also became obsessive about keeping up with criticisms and brought out many more updates, which his publisher sometimes passed off as reprints so that the bookshops would not return unsold copies of the previous one. Many years after his death, Faber finally stopped putting out reprints. The torch was then taken up sporadically by other publishers and burns still in the new millennium, especially in the US where contemporary (Macmillan) copies seem in shorter supply. A couple of these reprint editions have useful prefaces by more recent commentators. Even translations into new languages have appeared.
The end result is an eyewatering choice. I currently have sixteen assorted editions and impressions/reprints on my shelf and my collection is far from complete. All the complete books have much the same story to tell, unless you have a particular angle of interest. If that last is the case then the best for you will depend on what you want it for. Here are some suggestions:
First Edition, A & C Black, 1927 (MCMXXVII). This is really rather primitively laid out by the publisher. It has neither Table of Contents nor Index. Collectors will want pristine copies - at a price! Historians will be more interested in the cheaper but scruffier end.
Third Edition, Faber & Faber, 1934 (MCMXXXIV). For literary studies, this is the definitive classic. It was the first to become a top seller, and in its several impressions was the one owned by JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and other influential writers. See also the Papermac edition.
New (Sixth) Edition, Faber & Faber, reprinted 1948 (MCMXLVIII) (or later). Note this is the second "reprint" of the "new edition". It is the last version containing any new changes. All subsequent Faber reprints were of this version, and will do just as well. These and the intermediate editions tend to be a bit cheaper than the Third.
French edition, 1948. Le Temps et le Rêve is translated by Eugene de Veaux and published by Seuil. It is the closest we have to Dunne's final intentions. The two friends worked together closely, with the bilingual de Veauce putting forward many improvements that Dunne then wanted to adopt in his own language as well. de Veauce was able to incorporate far more of them into his translation that the increasingly infirm Dunne was in the original English, which was "reprinted" that same year.
Fate, November and December 1952. Condensed extracts from Dunne's accounts of his dreams. Illustrated with original artwork. A bit of fun, though the gratuitous cover art offends today's gender equality. Useful if you are studying his influence on postwar F&SF writers.
Papermac, 1981. Fully reset printing of the classic Third Edition, this one also has an excellent introduction by Brian Inglis, which marks it out as my top recommendation.
Hampton Roads, 2001. Fully reset printing of the last edition, this one has a preface by Russell Targ, who is rather more focused on parapsychology as a field of study than is Inglis.
If you prefer an eBook, I'd recommend the Second Edition available from the Internet Archive as a free download, in various formats.
There are also of course several unauthorised editions around today, most published as print-on-demand or even eBooks. These are all reproductions or automated resettings of older editions, and are of very variable quality. But they are readily available and can be affordable. On the other hand, downloads cannot always be trusted to be free of malware; if you put your cash into one of these, don't blame me for what you get.
If your language preference is for French (as above), Italian, Swedish, Danish, Spanish or Russian, then you are in luck; check out its title in the table below.
Most US editions are omitted. They were published by Macmillan, broadly in line with the Faber cycle until the 1981 Papermac, which was (only?) published in the UK.
Faber introduced accompanying paperback editions ca. 1939 & dropped hardbacks after ca. 1958.
|1||1st Ed||Black||Mar 1927||(No Contents or Index)|
|2||2nd Ed||Black||1929||New: Contents, Intro Note, Extract from Eddington, footnote to
p.198, Index by Parts, Some Press Notices to the First Edition,
misc minor changes.
Dust cover has profile portrait photo.
|3||3rd Ed||Faber||April 1934||Major revision. New: Introduction, Intro Note to 2nd Ed shortened, Eddington note moved out. Ch 1, pp1-2: Para cut. Ch 3 p10: that such brain-traces exist; from “well-known” to “very probable”. New Ch XIa. Ch XXV end para (p229) replaced with reference to forthcoming The Serial Universe. New Appendix with; Eddington note (moved in), Age Factor, New Experiment. Index consolidated. Press notices removed. Text changes throughout [many in square brackets].|
|3rd Ed 2nd Imp||Faber||June 1934||---|
|4||3rd Ed 3rd Imp||Faber||Jan 1935||Ch XXV further shortened: p229 references The Serial Universe as published. Footnote to p279.|
|5||4th Ed||Faber||Dec 1936||Ch XXV changed again. Appendix with Replies to Critics added.|
|6||5th Imp||Faber||Jan 1938||More replies to critics.
(The New Immortality p37 refers to “5th Edn”)
(hbk & ppbk)
|Faber||Sept 1939||Replies to critics extended and now a Section in itself, reply of
1938 shortened. p.247 notes “Infinity” removed throughout.
(Ppbk not confirmed)
(hbk & pbk)
|Faber (Q)||April 1942||Reset to reduce paper use. Ppbk also with dust cover.
p.208 Implies the removal of “infinity” dates to 1942.
|(hbk)||The Scientific Book Club||1943/44||1944 reissue of Faber 1943 edn.
Appears identical to 1942 edn.
|Reprint (hbk)||Faber||Jan 1946||Appears identical to 1942 edn.|
|Italian||Longanese||1946||Esperimento Col Tempo, J.W. Dunne. Translated by Camillo Pellizi.|
|Swedish||Rydahls||1946||Experiment Med Tiden. Trans. Th. Blohmqvist. Forward by Ansgar Roth.|
|Danish||Hagerup||1947||Et Forsøg Med Tiden. Trans. and Foreword by Finn Methling.|
|9||Reprint||Faber||April 1948||pp227-9 minor change. p230 abridged. Conclusions to Appendix has dropped the final discussion of a large-scale experiment.|
|10||French||Seuil||1948||Le Temps et le Rêve, John W. Dunne. Translated by Eugene de Veauce. Major rewrite.|
|Dunne dies||Aug 1949|
|Reprint||Faber||1952||Identical to 1948 edn.|
|11||Condensed||Clark (US)||1952||2-part, illustrated. In Fate, Nov & Dec 1952.|
|Reprint (hbk)||Faber||1958||Identical to 48/52?|
|Reprint (ppbk)||Faber||1958,60,64,69||Appears identical to 48/58.
Orange. Black side bar. Last letterpress edn?
|Reprint (ppbk)||Faber||1973||Appears identical to 48/69.
Orange. White side bar. Litho print? (Whitstable Litho)
|12||Reprint of 3rd Ed. (ppbk)||Macmillan (Papermac)||1981||Text as 3rd (1934) edn. Unsigned Introduction by Brian Inglis.
Later copes have a sticker on the title page to credit Inglis.
|Italian (new ed)||Longanese||1984||Esperimento Col Tempo, J.W. Dunne. Preface by Brian Inglis, also translated by Camillo Pellizi.|
|Spanish||Hyspamerica||1986||Un Experimento con el Tiempo, J. W. Dunne. Translated by Enrique Lynch. Short preface by Jorge Luis Borges.|
|Russian||Agraf||2000||Ėksperiment so vremenem, J. W. Dunne. Translated by Dzhon Uilyam Dann.|
|13||Reprint of later editions (ppbk)||Hampton Roads (US)||2001||Text as 1958 edn. Preface by Russell Targ.|
|14||Reprint of 3rd Ed. (ppbk)||Dover (US)||2022||Text as 3rd (1934) edn (no modern preface).|
Updated 6 Mar 2023