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The Spectre of Utopia

Utopian and Science Fictions at the "Fin de Siècle"

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Matthew Beaumont

In the late nineteenth century, a spectre haunted Europe and the United States: the spectre of utopia. This book re-examines the rise of utopian thought at the fin de siècle, situating it in the social and political contradictions of the time and exploring the ways in which it articulated a deepening sense that the capitalist system might not be insuperable after all. The study pays particular attention to Edward Bellamy’s seminal utopian fiction, Looking Backward (1888), embedding it in a number of unfamiliar contexts, and reading its richest passages against the grain, but it also offers detailed discussions of William Morris, H.G. Wells and Oscar Wilde. Both historical and theoretical in its approach, this book constitutes a substantial contribution to our understanding of the utopian imaginary, and an original analysis of the counter-culture in which it thrived at the fin de siècle.

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Bibliography Primary Allan, James McGrigor, Woman Suf frage Wrong: In Principle, and Practice: An Essay (London: Remington, 1890). Anonymous, ‘Annie Besant’s Autobiography’, Shafts ( January 1894), 192–5. ——, ‘An Echo from the Mersey’, Nationalization News 1 (1 November, 1891), 126. ——, ‘A French Opinion of “Looking Backward”: Too Dull for Endurance’, Review of Reviews 2 ( July/December 1890), 457. ——, ‘Sidelights on Socialism’, Fortnightly Review 63/338 (February 1895), 271. ——, ‘What the Girl Says’, Shafts (24 December 1892), 117. ——, ‘What the People Read XI. – A Wife’, Academy 53 (12 March 1898), 293–4. Austin, William, ‘Peter Rugg, The Missing Man’, in Joyce Carol Oates, ed., The Oxford Book of American Short Stories (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 34–61. Ballard, J. G., The Drowned World (London: Harper, 2006). Bax, E. Belfort, Outlooks from the New Standpoint (London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1891). Beard, George M., American Nervousness, Its Causes and Consequences; A Supplement to Nervous Exhaustion (Neurasthenia) (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1881). Bellamy, Edward, Apparitions of Things to Come: Edward Bellamy’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, ed. Franklin Rosemont (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr, 1990). ——, The Blindman’s World and Other Stories, With a Prefatory Sketch by W. D. Howells (Boston: Houghton Mif f lin, 1898). ——, Dr. Heidenhof f ’s Process (New York: D. Appleton, 1880). ——, Equality (London: William Heinemann, 1897). ——, ‘How I Wrote “Looking Backward”’, ‘Appendix A: Why and How Bellamy Wrote Looking Backward’, in Alex MacDonald, ed., Looking Backward 2000–1887 (Ontario: Broadview Press, 2003), 248–51. ——, Looking Backward: 2000–1887 (Boston: Ticknor, 1888)...

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