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Looking Backward: 2000-1887

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 by Edward Bellamy
By: (1850-1898)

Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian novel by Edward Bellamy, first published in 1888. It was the third largest bestseller of its time, after Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

The book tells the story of Julian West, a young American who, towards the end of the 19th century, falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up more than a century later. He finds himself in the same location (Boston, Massachusetts) but in a totally changed world: It is the year 2000 and, while he was sleeping, the U.S.A. has been transformed into a socialist utopia. This book outlines Bellamy’s complex thoughts about improving the future, and is an indictment of industrial capitalism.

First Page:

LOOKING BACKWARD

From 2000 to 1887

by

Edward Bellamy

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

Historical Section Shawmut College, Boston,

December 26, 2000

Living as we do in the closing year of the twentieth century, enjoying the blessings of a social order at once so simple and logical that it seems but the triumph of common sense, it is no doubt difficult for those whose studies have not been largely historical to realize that the present organization of society is, in its completeness, less than a century old. No historical fact is, however, better established than that till nearly the end of the nineteenth century it was the general belief that the ancient industrial system, with all its shocking social consequences, was destined to last, with possibly a little patching, to the end of time. How strange and wellnigh incredible does it seem that so prodigious a moral and material transformation as has taken place since then could have been accomplished in so brief an interval! The readiness with which men accustom themselves, as matters of course, to improvements in their condition, which, when anticipated, seemed to leave nothing more to be desired, could not be more strikingly illustrated... Continue reading book >>


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