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Preview — Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy
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“Human history, like all great movements, was cyclical, and returned to the point of beginning. The idea of indefinite progress in a right line was a chimera of the imagination, with no analogue in nature. The parabola of a comet was perhaps a yet better illustration of the career of humanity. Tending upward and sunward from t...more
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The fact that women have jobs outside the home is exciting and progressive. However, they are still treated as quite secondary to men. Being “infe ...more
Looking Backward is the best and clearest way I have ever seen socialism presented (although that is not hard, since I have never seen socialism presented in any light other than a negative one), and in almost every way it seems better than capitalism.
It raises questions in me that I have never had occasion to consider ...more
Bellamy takes the Rip Van Winkle idea and cranks it up a few notches. Our hero Julian goes to sleep in Boston one night in 1887 and wakes up in a most unusual place: Boston in the year 2000. The main ...more
Does it then really seem to you that human nature is insensible to any motives save fear of want and love of luxury, that you should expect security and equalit...more
"In her face, pity contended in a sort of divine spite against the obstacles which reduced it to impotence. Womanly compassion surely never wore a guise more lovely. Such beauty and such goodness quite melted me, and it seemed that the only fitting response... was just to tell her the truth.... I had no fear that she would be angry. She was too pitifu ...more
This is the story of Julian West, a man from the year 1887 who falls into a trance and wakes up in the year 2000. It basically provides an outline for the makings of a perfect society, which, in the novel, is exactly what is created in the year 2000. Dr. Leete is basically the spokesperson for this new society, which by the way is a very radical version of Socialism. Leete explains to Julian the industrial workforce, and all of the inner-wor ...more
So, I read this out of historical interest, because it was a landmark work in American leftism, sold millions of copies in the 1890's, etc. I kinda wanted to know what got early American leftists excited. Evidently, it was very-thinly-novelized half-informed hectoring about proto-Marxist political economy. He sketched just barely en ...more
The frame story is mostly for show: our protagonist goes to sleep in 1887 and wakes up in the year 2000 to a completely-changed world. The Industrial ...more
While some of his more optimistic and Utopian fantasies aren't realized by modern society and Bellamy's writing drags a bit in places, it's fun and carefree without the bitter aftertaste of 1984 or Brave New World looming over like storm clouds.
Looking Backward was written in 1887. By the magic of imaginatio ...more
Of course, I have the advantage of truly "Looking Backward": the year 2000, in which this book takes place, was eighteen years ago. Bellamy's 1887 predictions, therefore, seem utterly implausible and laughably optimistic, although I also offer my opinion that his blueprint for utopia is also horrendously unattractive and restricting.
Even though I have the privilege of living in his future, I don't think a lot of my issues with the book depend on my "futuristic" knowl ...more
Looking Backward is the story of a man who goes to sleep in 1887 Boston, and wakes up in 2000 Boston. (It is fiction, remember so this kind of jump can happen.) He awakens and learns o ...more
Basically, after 113 years sleeping, our hero wakes up in a future Boston, and the books lectures at length on Bellamy's idea of social and political utopia.
I read it becase of its historical listing as an early attempt at science fiction, and found it very slow moving indeed. Quite dated; quite shallow and lots of economic and political chit chat with ve ...more
I guess first of all I have to say that when I read someone's book I feel as though I am having the most intimate conversation with that person. I know them and sometime I feel like we are close friends, as in this case. Bellamy is tight in his execution of applying what the socialist ideals could produce in a future society. Since he is such a good writer, I am simply going to list all my favorite quotes and how I see them.
" Even if he felt he ...more
His novel Looking Backward is a widely regarded work of socialist Utopian fiction and was referenced in many Marxist publications of the time.
When it was first published in 1888, its success was behind that of only Uncle Tom's Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.
It inspired a less successful sequel entitled Equality that was more of a political tract t ...more