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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Mr. Bellamy's "Looking Backward" (S421a: 1890)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter to the Editor printed on page 207 of the 26 April 1890 issue of Light (London). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S421A.htm

     Sir,--I have not read Miss Luddington's Sister, but I have read Looking Backward three times, and I must protest against the reviewer of the former work giving your readers an erroneous impression of the latter, which he has evidently never read through. If he had done so he could not have written this sentence: "As a story-teller in both Looking Backward and Miss Luddington's Sister he can hardly be said to have succeeded, for in both books the last chapters entirely upset the apparent meaning and interest of the story." This is wholly untrue of Looking Backward, the interest and perfect consistency of the story being kept up from the opening words of the preface to the closing paragraph. Neither is the charge of "vagueness" a more accurate one; for the pre-eminent merit of the book, and that which has given it its great reputation, is the entire absence of vagueness. It is because, for the first time, it has shown how a thorough system of Socialism may be established, and how it may be applied in all the countless ramifications of modern civilisation, while reserving home privacy and individual liberty to far greater extent than is possible under our existing social arrangements, that the book has had such an enormous success, and has initiated a movement in the direction of the new social economy which will in all probability have important effects on the future of humanity.

Alfred R. Wallace.

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