“THE MOST INFLUENTIAL OF AMERICAN UTOPIAS”: FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE OF BELLAMY’S LOOKING BACKWARD
BELLAMY, Edward. Looking Backward, 2000-1887. Boston: Ticknor, 1888. Octavo, original green gilt-stamped cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition, first issue, of Bellamy’s enormously successful utopian novel, a work that inspired the birth of a political party and “achieved a popularity which endured,” in original bright gilt cloth.
Bellamy's classic novel "Looking Backward was undoubtedly the most influential of all American utopias: it not only became a best-seller, but inspired the creation of a political party" (Jones & Mendelsohn, 223). "The sensation created by Looking Backward was due to its intrinsic qualities, to a charming style, and to an adroit fashion of presenting its socialist—or 'nationalist,' since it advocated nationalization—doctrine… The book achieved a popularity which endured" (ANB) Almost immediately on publication, the novel "stimulated as much debate as to the social role of technology as political controversy about the ideals of socialism" (Barron II-102). Here "Bellamy proposed to found an ideal state rather than attempt to create an ideal man. Under his regime, human nature remains the same, but the environment is changed. There was a profound conviction, eloquently expressed in Looking Backward, that if human nature could be placed in a great environment, it would react nobly" (Downs, 25 Books That Changed America, 120). Among those who endorsed and promoted Bellamy's unique vision were Mark Twain, George Bernard Shaw and Clarence Darrow. First issue, with imprint of J. J. Arakelyan on the copyright page, and uncorrected "wore" for "were" (p 210, li 8). Without rear blank leaf. BAL 956. Clute & Nichols, 104. See Pringle, 159. Downs, Books the Changed America 10.
Text very fresh and clean, just a small marginal expert paper repair to last leaf, only lightest edge-wear to bright gilt-stamped cloth. A handsome about-fine copy.