A Short History of Travel

The idea of birmanie lac inle through time is one which is natural to our modern sensibilities. Even though there’s some debate as to how possible this exercise could be, most everybody at least acknowledges it as a favorite notion in fictional literature.

However the idea of time travel as a plot potential is one which is not found much in individual culture throughout the ages. We’ve got some ancient stories that have a rough inclination towards travel forward in time, however, there are no recorded mentions of even a vague notion of backward time travel found in any form until at least the 1700’s.

One of the earliest mentions we have of time traveling at all comes from an ancient Hindu text called the Mahabharatha. This story dates back to about 700 BCE – 300 CE and involves King Revaita traveling to paradise to meet Brahma. Upon returning home he finds that many hundred years have passed.

In 720 CE we see the tale of Urashima Taro clarified in the Nihongi, which clarifies the experience of a fisherman that travels to an undersea palace for 3 days. When he returns home he finds that 300 years have actually passed, and his home has dropped and his household has all passed and everything he possessed in life is now gone. This is quite similar to Washington Irving’s story Rip Van Winkle.

A more modern version of the time traveling story comes out of Louis-Sebastien Mercien’s publication “The Year 2440, A Dream If Ever There Were One”. This extremely popular book depicts the tale of a man who has a struggle with a philosopher friend of his concerning the issues with Parisian society. Then he falls asleep, and when he awakes he is in a Paris of the future. While the story was fictional the author really intended the book to be a guideline for people to follow to create a utopian society.

The first story that even toys with the notion of backwards time travel is “Memoirs of the Twentieth Century” by Samuel Madden. This can be comprised mostly of a string of letters delivered by British Ambassadors regarding the state of the country in 1997, and 1998. The overlying narrative is the narrator of the book was given the letters by a guardian angel in 1733, even though there is no explanation of the way the angel obtained these letters.

Later time travel novels include A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, and the Time Machine, by HG Wells. The latter publication, The Time Machine, is the novel that popularized time travel as a literary concept, and has become the guideline for all time travel books that have come since.

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