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The Consolation of Utopia By Douglas Mann
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In the late 1800's and early 1900's, mortgage foreclosures, bankruptcies, recessions, monopolies, monetary policy, and the concentration of vast wealth in the hands of a small but powerful plutocracy... More > were perennial topics of debate as the nation witnessed the implacable onslaught of industrialization. The social injustices of the times engendered a plethora of utopian novels attempting to point the way from turmoil to enlightenment. Among the most influential were the writings of Edward Bellamy (Looking Backward: 2000-1887) and Ignatius Donnelly (Caesar’s Column and The Golden Bottle). Mann’s study places the utopian vision of each of these works in the context of those seemingly distant – yet all too familiar – times. The novels of Bellamy and Donnelly are the forerunners of a long line of dystopian fiction beginning with H.G. Wells’ Time Machine and continuing through Zamyatin’s We and Orwell’s 1984.< Less
The Consolation of Utopia By Douglas Mann
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By the 1880’s – long before the Bolshevik Revolution and the horrors of the Russian Civil War – socialism was already a dirty word in the vernacular of successful American... More > capitalists and those who still dreamed of rising to comfortable prosperity or conspicuous opulence. Mortgage foreclosures, bankruptcies, recessions, monopolies, monetary policy, and the concentration of vast wealth in the hands of a small but powerful plutocracy were perennial topics of debate as the nation witnessed the implacable onslaught of industrialization. The social injustices of the times engendered a plethora of utopian novels attempting to point the way from turmoil to enlightenment. Among the most influential were the writings of Edward Bellamy (Looking Backward: 2000-1887) and Ignatius Donnelly (Caesar’s Column and The Golden Bottle). The novels of Bellamy and Donnelly are the forerunners of a long line of dystopian fiction beginning with H.G. Wells’ Time Machine and continuing through Zamyatin’s We and Orwell's 1984.< Less