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Looking Backward: 2000-1887 is a utopian novel by Edward Bellamy, first published in 1888. The book tells the story of Julian West, a young American who, towards the end of the 19th century, falls into a deep, hypnosis-induced sleep and wakes up more than a century later. He finds himself on the same spot but in a totally changed world: It is the year 2000 and, while he was sleeping, the U.S.A. has been transformed into a socialist utopia.

Plot Summary[edit]

{{spoiler}} Looking backwards is a thinly disguised lecture on the ideal society. The characters and events most provide transitions from one concept to the next. The novel opens with Julian West in late 19th century America. It is clear that Julian is unhappy with the state of things. He suffers from insomia and complains about labor disputes.


The cast of Looking Backward is quite small. Julian West has little meaningful contact with anyone outside of the Leete family.

Characters of 1887[edit]

  • Julian West: is the protanganist of the novel. He was a rich American living on inherited wealth in the 19th century. Julian West's background helps to reveal the audience that Bellamy was hoping to convince.
  • Edith Bartlett:
  • Dr. Pillsbury:
  • Sawyer:

Characters of 2000[edit]

  • Doctor Leete:is an inhabinant of the future utopia. Serves as Julian's physical guide. Dr. Leete is the character that convinces Julian that the utopian world presented is in fact an ideal social structure.
  • Edith Leete: is an inhabiant of the future utopia. The daughter of Doctor Leete, she serves as Julian's emotional guide and romantic interest. It is her emotional support that eventually allowes Julian to completely adapt to the future society.

Utopian Characteristics[edit]

Historical Context[edit]

The novel is often seen as a companion piece to William Morris's 1890 utopia News from Nowhere. The book's descriptions of utopian urban planning had a practical influence on Ebenezer Howard's founding of the garden city movement in England, and on the design of the Bradbury Building in Los Angeles.

External link[edit]