It is the year 2000-and full employment, material abundance and social harmony can be found everywhere. This is the America to which Julian West, a young Bostonian, awakens after more than a century of sleep. West's initial sense of wonder, his gradual acceptance of the new order and a new love, and Bellamy's wonderful prophetic inventions - electric lighting, shopping malls, credit cards, electronic broadcasting - ensured the mass popularity of this 1888 novel. But however rich in fantasy and romance, Looking Backward is a passionate attach on the social ills of nineteenth-century industrialism and a plea for social reform and moral renewal. In her introduction, Cecelia Tichi discusses how the novel echoes the anguish and hopes of its own age while it embodies a sustaining myth of the American literary tradition-that man's perfectibility is attainable in the New World.
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