The Destined Corner-Stone of the New Social Order : The Evolution and Effects of Edward Bellamy's Utopian Vision



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A man who summed up his occupation as writing books, contributing to magazines, newspaper work, general scribbling, Edward Bellamy (1850-1898) wrote hundreds of editorials, twenty-three short stories, a three-volume newspaper, and six novels over the course of twenty-seven years. While he spent most of his life in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, his work reflected a deep understanding of and concern about the rapidly changing world of the late nineteenth century. From his small-town perspective, Bellamy studied the events of the past and chronicled and commented on those of his present, employing various media to reach a broad audience. Although his ideas did not attract national attention until the publication of Looking Backward in 1888, musings on subjects that he addressed in the novel regularly appeared in his earlier writing. Throughout his adult life, Bellamy was concerned with the increasing power of the nation's capitalists, whose influences were beginning to be felt even in his own hometown. Through his writing, both fiction and nonfiction, he became one of a growing number of voices working to convince the American public of the need for social and economic reform, promoting a return to republican values.