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Edward Bellamy

Bellamy, Edward (bĕlˈəmē) [key], 1850–98, American author, b. Chicopee Falls (now part of Chicopee), Mass. After being admitted to the bar he tried his hand at journalism and contributed short stories of genuine charm to various magazines. These were later collected as The Blind Man's World and Other Stories (1898). His novels— The Duke of Stockbridge (1879), Dr. Heindenhoff's Process (1880), and Miss Ludington's Sister (1884)—were followed by Looking Backward, 2000–1887 (1888), which overshadowed his other work and brought him fame. This utopian romance pictured the world in the year 2000 under a system of state socialism. Much of the book's appeal lies in its unpretentious style and its vivid picture of the imagined society. The work sold over a million copies in the next few years and resulted in the formation of "Nationalist" clubs throughout the nation and the founding of the Nationalist monthly (1888–91). Bellamy himself founded and edited the New Nation (1891–94), a weekly. Equality, a sequel to Looking Backward, appeared in 1897.

See biography by S. E. Bowman (1958, repr. 1979); J. L. Thomas, Alternative America (1983); D. Patai, ed., Looking Backward, 1988–1888 (1988).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: American Literature: Biographies


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