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En återblick (1888)

av Edward Bellamy

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Serier: Looking Backward series (1)

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2,560504,050 (3.29)96
Stimulating, thought-provoking utopian fantasy about a young man who's put into a hypnotic trance in the late 19th-century and awakens in the year 2000 to find crime, war and want non-existent.
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A Book About the Gilded Age*

If a good book should engage a reader in a debate about its themes, Looking Backward is a good book. Edward Bellamy sends his protagonist, Julian West, forward in time to the year 2000 to witness the social transformation America has undergone in the 113 years since Julian's unusual hypnotic session propels him into the future. The novel is full of criticisms of Julian's original time, The Gilded Age, detailed through the contrasting organization of business and society in the future.

If a good book has a basis in the reality of human nature, Looking Backward fails to qualify. The America of the future is a utopia of social equality where there is no need for money, or armies. Where the citizens of the country have voluntarily migrated to this new arrangement where the government owns all means of production and distribution, even decides what should be imported from foreign countries. Where all citizens, even children, receive an equal share of the national wealth annually to spend as they see fit (although they are so satisfied with their condition that they are incapable of spending it all). In other words, America has been overrun by non-humans who fervently believe the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one (regards, Mr. Spock) and act in accordance.

Looking Backward is an interesting read which I recommend with caveats. I laughed at Bellamy's thoughts on freedom and equality, because the patriarchy of his day is still in effect in the future. The equivalent of noblesse oblige has been transferred from the wealthy and their obligations to the less-fortunate to men and their treatment of women. If you take offense at patronizing attitudes about the delicacy of women you might skip this book. Even if you can accept travel across time, the novel also contains a fantastic coincidence, which I won't spoil, which overwhelms even the most ludicrous of Bellamy's visions of an enlightened future. If you read and enjoy 18th and 19th century fiction, this twist will be in keeping with those of greater works such as Les Miserables and Jane Eyre. If you need a plot grounded in the semblance of the possible, this book isn't for you. But overall it's an enjoyable book, if for no other reason than to see what Marx might have done as a novelist.

* - I've had to set my themed reading list aside for now, as I'm taking a couple literature classes this summer through a state program that provides free tuition for Texas residents over 55. This novel is assigned for my 19th Century American Literature class focused on the Gilded Age. ( )
1 rösta skavlanj | Oct 27, 2020 |
Looking Backward: 2000–1887 is a utopian novel by Edward Bellamy, a journalist and writer from Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts; it was first published in 1888. It was the third largest bestseller of its time, after Uncle Tom's Cabin and Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. It influenced many intellectuals, and appears by title in many socialist writings of the day. "It is one of the few books ever published that created almost immediately on its appearance a political mass movement".
  Matthew_Erskine | Jun 6, 2020 |
The economic system described, an alternative to capitalism, is interesting. The characters, and the plot they're involved in, are thoroughly 2-dimensional, but that's par for the course with a book of this type. ( )
  LordGro | May 8, 2020 |
One of my all-time favorite books! ( )
  Phyllis.Mann | Mar 18, 2020 |
A truly terrible book. It's an extremely naive, optimistic, earnest political treatise masquerading as a novel. Most if not all of the political content comes off as repugnant to modern ears as well. Especially the frankly terrifying national industrial army, where citizens do their best for the glory of the "fatherland." It brings up scary WW2 echoes, but is packaged in an annoyingly earnest, naive "utopian" novel. The novel also suffers from a distinct lack of imagination. Bellamy's future society is basically exactly the same 19th century society in which he lived, only improved. Just a terrible, terrible book. ( )
  ajdesasha | Nov 8, 2019 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (32 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Edward Bellamyprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Fromm, Erichmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Miller, Walter JamesInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
s.BENešOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Zetkin, ClaraÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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Preface: Living as we do in the closing year of the twentieth century, enjoying the blessings of a social order at once so simple and logical that it seems but the triumph of common sense, it is, no doubt, difficult for those whose studies have not been largely historical to realize that the present organization of society is, in its completeness, less than a century old.
I first saw the light in the city of Boston in the year 1857.
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Stimulating, thought-provoking utopian fantasy about a young man who's put into a hypnotic trance in the late 19th-century and awakens in the year 2000 to find crime, war and want non-existent.

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