The Year 2000: A Critical Biography of Edward Bellamy

The Year 2000: A Critical Biography of Edward Bellamy

The Year 2000: A Critical Biography of Edward Bellamy

The Year 2000: A Critical Biography of Edward Bellamy

Excerpt

The purpose of The Year 2000: A Critical Biography of Edward Bellamy is to trace the experiences and ideas of Edward Bellamy and his reactions to sundry problems of his epoch which culminated in the delineation of the Utopian society presented in Looking Backward (1888), America's most popular and influential Utopian novel, and its sequel Equality (1897). To achieve this objective, Bellamy's novels are viewed as the product of the social, economic, and political life of his era; of his immediate community; of his family environment; and of his experiences, interests, philosophy, and character. Bellamy's major publications--Looking Backward and Equality--are approached, therefore, from a psychological and sociological aspect; for Utopian novels can only be fully understood, appreciated, and evaluated when they have been fitted into the pattern of the author's life and thought and have been viewed in their relationship to the political, social, and economic conditions of their period.

The only dialectic consideration given to Bellamy's ideas is contained in the material about the ideas of reformers and reform movements with which Bellamy was acquainted. The reader interested in a more thorough dialectic study is referred to my thesis Le Développement des Idées d'Edouard Bellamy which I presented at the Sorbonne for a doctorate in 1952. In that work, a comparative study of Bellamy's ideas and those of the social and Utopian writers (prior to Looking Backward) of the United States, France, Germany, and England is presented. Copies or microfilms of this thesis are deposited in the libraries of the University of Paris, Harvard University, and Union College.

The Year 2000 contains--except for a brief section about the Bellamy movement--no study of the influence of Bellamy's ideas because the story of the international reaction to them could fill a sizeable volume. Such a volume--Bellamy at Home and Abroad-- is now being prepared by me in collaboration with professors from many universities abroad.

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