Edward Bellamy (1850-98) was a cultural critic in the broadest sense of the word and his work touches on a vast range of concerns. Virtually no aspect of late nineteenth-century American life went unexplored in his Utopian novels, Looking Backward, 2000-1877 and its sequel Equality, and in his extensive journalism. As social reformer and creative writer, Bellamy combined in his work aspects of life too often treated as opposites : imagination and practicality. A good deal of his scathing attack on the capitalist excesses of his time came from his deep-rooted conviction that ordinary people, condemned to a life of labor in conditions of the utmost insecurity and ill health, were thereby prevented from realizing their true potential as creative beings possessed of both intellect and imagination. His main argument was that without economic equality, political equality — that is, democracy — is a mere pretense. The struggle for a better world, based upon radical egalitarianism, became Bellamy’s major concern. One hundred years after the publication of Looking Backward, Bellamy remains a controversial figure in American literary and social history. The collection of essays in this volume, commemorating the novel’s appearance in 1888, attests to his continued importance.

  • Title: Looking Backward, 1988-1888: Essays on Edward Bellamy
  • Editor: Daphne Patai
  • Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press
  • Year: 1988