Looking Backward 2000-1887
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Meet Julian West, who falls asleep in Boston for over a hundred years... then wakes to find himself in a futuristic socialist utopia, where people retire at 45 to live out the rest of their lives in leisure. His guide in this brave new America is Doctor Leete, with whom he discusses the wonders he encounters and the perils he envisions. These social-minded dialogues range from discussing religion, an improved legal system and class equality, to the use of credit cards, overnight deliveries, and the dangers of the stock market. Edward Bellamy wrote "Looking Backward" in 1887, and the descriptions of his futuristic socialist utopia quickly ignited spirited debate, and led to a political movement which came to be known as Nationalism. The book also inspired the creation of new utopian communities, as well as influencing over a century of urban planning, including the Garden city movement in England. This full size collectible edition has been designed for students and scholars, and features a new introduction, as well as a contemporary look at the life and influence of Edward Bellamy. It has been updated and completely restored for a modern audience. Excerpt from "Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy - A Utopian Novel" (Chapter 26) Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. "It was the sincere belief of even the best of men at that epoch that the only stable elements in human nature, on which a social system could be safely founded, were its worst propensities. They had been taught and believed that greed and self-seeking were all that held mankind together, and that all human associations would fall to pieces if anything were done to blunt the edge of these motives or curb their operation. In a word, they believed - even those who longed to believe otherwise - the exact reverse of what to us seems self-evident; they believed, that is, that the antisocial qualities of men, and not their social qualities, were what furnished the cohesive force of society.... It seems absurd to expect anyone to believe that convictions like these were ever seriously entertained by men...." "With a tear for the dark past, turn we then to the dazzling future, and, veiling our eyes, press forward. The long and weary winter of the race is ended. Its summer has begun. Humanity has burst the chrysalis. The heavens are before it." Critical reviews for Looking Backward ""One of the most remarkable books ever published in America... it is one of the few books ever published that created almost immediately on its appearance a political mass movement."" --Erich Fromm ""While almost prophetic in its 19th century predictions of many modern contrivances, socially, 'Looking Backward' stands in stark contrast to America as it exists in the grip of the early 21st century world economic recession. Yet even more than a century after it was written, Bellamy's masterpiece now burns even brighter as a beacon of hope for class equality and the ideas associated with Christian socialism."" --Shawn Conners, editor of "Men & Women by Robert Browning - Transcendentalism: A Poem in Twelve Books"
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- Utopian Fiction
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