Edward Bellamy - Encyclopedia




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EDWARD BELLAMY (1850-1898), American author and social reformer, was born at Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, on the 25th of March 1850. He studied for a time at Union College, Schenectady, New York, and in Germany; was admitted to the bar in 1871; but soon engaged in newspaper work, first as an associate editor of the Springfield Union, Mass., and then as an editorial writer for the New York Evening Post. After publishing three novelettes (Six to One, Dr Heidenhoff's Process and Miss Ludington's Sister), pleasantly written and showing some inventiveness in situation, but attracting no special notice, in 1888 he caught the public attention with Looking Backward, 2000-1887, in which he set forth ideas of co-operative or semi-socialistic life in village or city communities. The book was widely circulated in America and Europe, and was translated into several foreign languages. It was at first judged merely as a romance, but was soon accepted as a statement of the deliberate wishes and methods of its author, who devoted the remainder of his life as editor, author, lecturer and politician, to the pro motion of the communistic theories of Looking Backward, which he called "nationalism"; a Nationalist party (the main points of whose immediate programme, according to Bellamy, were embodied in the platform of the People's party of 1892) was organized, but obtained no political hold. In 1897 Bellamy published Equality, a sequel to Looking Backward. He died at Chicopee Falls on the 22nd of May 1898.

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