This novel of social reform was published ina time when Americans were frightened by working class violence and disgusted by the conspicuous consumption of the privileged minority. The author thus employs projections of the year to put society under scrutiny. Bellamy presents Americans with portraits of a desirable future and of their present day.
Publication history[ edit ] The decades of the s and the s were marked by economic and social turmoil, including the Long Depression of —, a series of recessions during the s, the rise of organized labor and strikesand the Haymarket affair and its controversial aftermath.
Edward Bellamy —a relatively unknown New England -born novelist with a history of concern with social issues,  began to conceive of writing an impactful work of visionary fiction shaping the outlines of a utopian future, in Looking backward by edward bellamy production and society were ordered for the smooth production and distribution of commodities to a regimented labor force.
In this he was not alone — between andno fewer than 11 such works of fiction were produced in the United States by various authors dealing fundamentally with the questions of economic and social organization. This first translation, the first piece of science fiction from a Western country published in Qing dynasty China, was done in an abridged format by Timothy Richard.
He finds himself in the same location Boston, Massachusettsbut in a totally changed world: It is the yearand while he was sleeping, the United States has been transformed into a socialist utopia. The remainder of the book outlines Bellamy's thoughts about improving the future.
The major themes include problems associated with capitalism, a proposed socialist solution of a nationalization of all industry, and the use of an "industrial army" to organize production and distribution, as well as how to ensure free cultural production under such conditions.
The young man readily finds a guide, Doctor Leete, who shows him around and explains all the advances of this new age, including drastically reduced working hours for people performing menial jobs and almost instantaneous, Internet-like delivery of goods.
Everyone retires with full benefits at age 45, and may eat in any of the public kitchens. The productive capacity of the United States is nationally owned, and the goods of society are equally distributed to its citizens.
A considerable portion of the book is dialogue between Leete and West wherein West expresses his confusion about how the future society works and Leete explains the answers using various methods, such as metaphors or direct comparisons with 19th-century society.
Although Bellamy's novel did not discuss technology or the economy in detail, commentators frequently compare Looking Backward with actual economic and technological developments.
For example, Julian West is taken to a store which with its descriptions of cutting out the middleman to cut down on waste in a similar way to the consumers' cooperatives of his own day based on the Rochdale Principles of somewhat resembles a modern warehouse club like BJ's, Costco, or Sam's Club.
He additionally introduces a concept of "credit" cards in chapters 9, 10, 11, 13, 25, and 26, but these actually function like modern debit cards. All citizens receive an equal amount of "credit".
Those with more difficult, specialized, dangerous, or unpleasant jobs work fewer hours in contrast to the real-world practice of paying them more for their efforts of, presumably, the same hours.
Despite the "ethical" character of his socialism though he was initially reluctant to use the term "socialism"Bellamy's ideas somewhat reflect classical Marxism.
In chapter 19, for example, he has the new legal system explained. Most civil suits have ended in socialism, while crime has become a medical issue. The idea of atavismthen current, is employed to explain crimes not related to inequality which Bellamy thinks will vanish with socialism.
Remaining criminals are medically treated. One professional judge presides, appointing two colleagues to state the prosecution and defense cases. If all do not agree on the verdict, then it must be tried over. Chapters 15 and 16 have an explanation of how free, independent public art and news outlets could be provided in a more libertarian socialist system.
In one case, Bellamy even writes, "the nation is the sole employer and capitalist". Shipley argued that Bellamy's novel was a repeat of Bebel's arguments, while literary critic R. Shurter went so far as to argue that "Looking Backward is actually a fictionalized version of The Co-operative Commonwealth and little more".
Bellamy wrote the sequel to elaborate and clarify many of the ideas merely touched upon in Looking Backward. The success of Looking Backward provoked a spate of sequels, parodies, satires, dystopian, and 'anti-utopian' responses. Electrical Development at Atlantis Harris, G.
Inequality and Progress [which assumes Bellamy advocated an absolute equality of goods] Michaelis, R. Looking Further Backward West, J. East's Experiences in Mr.
An Experiment in Marriage. A Romance [Bellamy's brother] Chavannes, A.Looking Backward is a novel by Edward Bellamy that was first published in A short summary of Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward.
This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Looking Backward. Looking Back Looking Forward Essay. In Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy argued that one of the most significant problems facing America in was the struggle of class and the values that the everyday citizen lived by and portrayed.
Looking Backward has 4, ratings and reviews. Jessica said: In Bellamy’s Boston in the year , many things have changed from how they were in 18 /5.
Edward Bellamy's socialist utopian novel Looking Backward tells the story of a Boston man who is placed in a mesmeric trance in and awakens in the year While he was entranced, the United States and much of the world has undergone major transformations, chiefly in /5(K).
Jan 17, · NEAR the end of the last century Edward Bellamy wrote ''Looking Backward'' - a ''fanciful romance,'' as he called it - in which he risked daring predictions about life at the end of our own.