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Looking Backward (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2000

3.7 out of 5 stars 105 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“There is no better book than Looking Backward for understanding the intersecting private and public spheres in Victorian America. This is easily the best edition on the market, thanks to the fine introduction that puts Bellamy in the sweep of utopian writing, the nice selection of contemporary responses, and the excerpts from Bellamy’s ‘Religion of Solidarity’ and Equality.” ― Richard Fox, University of Southern California

“This edition is set apart from all other editions by Alex MacDonald’s excellent introduction and annotations and an excellent selection of related texts.” ― Lyman Tower Sargent, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Editor of Utopian Studies

“This edition is extremely welcome. The introduction is clear and accessible, and both situates the text historically and stresses its continuing relevance. Above all, the additional texts provide supporting material that makes this edition a truly invaluable resource.” ― Ruth Levitas, University of Bristol

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Designed for school districts, educators, and students seeking to maximize performance on standardized tests, Webster’s paperbacks take advantage of the fact that classics are frequently assigned readings in English courses. By using a running thesaurus at the bottom of each page, this edition of Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy was edited for students who are actively building their vocabularies in anticipation of taking PSAT®, SAT®, AP® (Advanced Placement®), GRE®, LSAT®, GMAT® or similar examinations.

PSAT® is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation neither of which sponsors or endorses this book; SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board which neither sponsors nor endorses this book; GRE®, AP® and Advanced Placement® are registered trademarks of the Educational Testing Service which neither sponsors nor endorses this book, GMAT® is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admissions Council which is neither affiliated with this book nor endorses this book, LSAT® is a registered trademark of the Law School Admissions Council which neither sponsors nor endorses this product. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics (May 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451527631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451527639
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,400,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward 2000-1887" remains the most successful and influential utopian novel written by an American writer mainly because the competition consists mostly of dystopian works, from Jack London's "The Iron Heel" to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," or science fiction works like Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Dispossessed." Still, I do not mean to give the impression that Bellamy's 1888 novel gets this honor by default. Magazine covers in 1984 were devoted to judging the track record of George Orwell's dystopian classic and I would argue that Bellamy deserves the same sort of consideration now that we have reached the 21st century. I certainly intend to use him to that end in my upcoming Utopian Images class.
At the end of the 19th century Bellamy creates a picture of a wonderful future society. Bellamy's protagonist is Julian West, a young aristocratic Bostonian who falls into a deep sleep while under a hypnotic trance in 1887 and ends up waking up in the year 2000 (hence the novel's sub-title). Finding himself a century in the future in the home of Doctor Leete, West is introduced to an amazing society, which is consistently contrasted with the time from which he has come. As much as this is a prediction of a future utopia, it is also a scathing attack on the ills of American life heading into the previous turn of the century. Bellamy's sympathies are clearly with the progressives of that period.
"Looking Backward" does not have a narrative structure per se. Instead West is shown the wonders of Boston in the year 2000, with his hosts explaining the rationale behind the grand civic improvements. For example, he discovers that every body is happy and no one is either rich or poor, all because equality has been achieved.
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Format: Paperback
Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward 2000-1887" remains the most successful and influential utopian novel written by an American writer mainly because the competition consists mostly of dystopian works, from Jack London's "The Iron Heel" to Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," or science fiction works like Ursula K. LeGuin's "The Dispossessed." Still, I do not mean to give the impression that Bellamy's 1888 novel gets this honor by default. Magazine covers in 1984 were devoted to judging the track record of George Orwell's dystopian classic and I would argue that Bellamy deserves the same sort of consideration now that we have reached the 21st century. I certainly intend to use him to that end in my upcoming Utopian Images class.
At the end of the 19th century Bellamy creates a picture of a wonderful future society. Bellamy's protagonist is Julian West, a young aristocratic Bostonian who falls into a deep sleep while under a hypnotic trance in 1887 and ends up waking up in the year 2000 (hence the novel's sub-title). Finding himself a century in the future in the home of Doctor Leete, West is introduced to an amazing society, which is consistently contrasted with the time from which he has come. As much as this is a prediction of a future utopia, it is also a scathing attack on the ills of American life heading into the previous turn of the century. Bellamy's sympathies are clearly with the progressives of that period.
"Looking Backward" does not have a narrative structure per se. Instead West is shown the wonders of Boston in the year 2000, with his hosts explaining the rationale behind the grand civic improvements.
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Comment 26 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward, is a vision of a utopian Boston of the year 2000 seen in the eyes of the fictional, nineteenth century Bostonian, Julian West. Having fallen asleep for 113 years Mr. West is awakened by the Leetes family. Over the course of the next several days he discovers a multitude of changes that have occurred during his long slumber. Most importantly or most overarchingly is the idea of social change that has occurred. While many other authors' ideas of the future have involved images of great technological change, they have not demonstrated an adaptation of human behavioral change. In Bellamy's eyes however, there are some technological innovations but the primary changes occur in the areas of economics that leads to dramatic changes in the human condition. It seems to be a world in which, once everyone decided not to fight over money any longer, then people were capable of getting along. Public service and public caring for one another is the norm. In the USA of Bellamy's 2000, the government is a centralized state with the military as the primary employer. Bellamy refers to it as a corporate state and the industrialized army. In his world military and service go hand in hand. In his exploration Bellamy addresses many issues that would be of concern to not only his readers but to readers to this day. Obviously there is the economic foundation of both the nineteenth and the imaginary twentieth century of the book. This leads directly to the issues of labor. Issues of international economics, law and prison all come up in West's exploration of his newly discovered world. Again each of these issues is ultimately related and hence resolved through economics.Read more ›
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