Looking Backward, 2000-1887, a utopian novel


In Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888) Julian West falls asleep in 1887 and wakes up in 2000. There he finds a socialist utopia: ‘industrial armies’ of workers; credit cards; piped music and centralised distribution of goods. Central planning has eliminated poverty and there is no war. Julian enthusiastically embraces this new world, and readers were inspired to form ‘Bellamy Clubs’ to promote its ideas. Several experimental utopian communities were also inspired by the book, which was one of the biggest sellers of its day.

Full title:
Looking Backward, 2000-1887
estimated 1890, London
Edward Bellamy
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Related articles

Where the grass is greener: the dream of utopia

Article by:
Mike Ashley
Visions of the future

Mike Ashley describes how 20th-century writers dreamed up new and better worlds in their fiction – while at the same time confronting the likelihood that no imagined world, however good, could suit everyone.

Victorian utopias

Article by:
Marcus Waithe
Visions of the future

The nature of the ideal society has occupied philosophers and writers for millennia. Here Dr Marcus Waithe considers how Victorian writers such as H G Wells, William Morris and Edward Bulwer-Lytton re-imagined their own society and envisaged utopian futures.

Related collection items