Edward Bellamy Abroad: An American Prophet's Influence

Edward Bellamy Abroad: An American Prophet's Influence

Edward Bellamy Abroad: An American Prophet's Influence

Edward Bellamy Abroad: An American Prophet's Influence

Excerpt

All those interested in noting the diversity of individual reactions to a prophetic vision of man's future in this world will find Miss Sylvia E. Bowman's painstaking into the question of the reception granted the world over to Edward Bellamy's picture of the ideal state both challenging and thoughtprovoking.

Even when, as often happened, the reception of his ideas was unfavorable, it was nevertheless Edward Bellamy's fortune to elicit from his readers reactions far more passionate, and consequently far more stirring, than those the average writer can ever hope to draw forth from his audience. One cannot help feeling, in fact, when confronted with the huge amount of critical literature devoted to his books in widely different countries, that few writers, except among the very greatest, ever found so large and so responsive an audience as did modest, unassuming Edward Bellamy whose primary aim was certainly not literary fame.

The reason for this worldwide interest in his works is to be found, of course, not so much in the intrinsic literary value of Edward Bellamy's fiction as in the importance man has always attached to the problem which is at the core of Bellamy's creative activity, a problem which leaves no one indifferent, whether one agrees or disagrees with the author's treatment of it, and, also, in the indomitable spirit of earnest and ineradicable optimism which inspired his hopeful vision of a better future for mankind.

What Edward Bellamy attempted to do, in fact, was to offer a new version, as definite as he could make it, of that age-old an dream of a millenium, a nineteenth-century preview of that "brave new world" which had already been the fond dream of men for many generations before Shakespeare coined the phrase in an age which was more eager, even, than the nineteenth century to screen off the depressing picture of the present behind the more comforting image of a far-off Eldorado.

For although he has by now won a place among the prophets of the future, Edward Bellamy is, of course, the heir to many centuries, just as his own country, the United States of America, at present for many a symbol of the Future, owes its very exist-

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