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

Mr. Bellamy's "Looking Backward" (S421b: 1890)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A letter to the Editor printed on page 231 of the 10 May 1890 issue of Light (London). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S421B.htm

    Sir,--As your correspondent "π" still thinks he has read Looking Backward, I must ask your permission to make a few short quotations from the book:--

    I panted, I sobbed, I groaned, and immediately afterwards found myself sitting upright in bed in my room in Dr. Leete's house, and the morning sun shining through the open window into my eyes. . . . As with an escaped convict who dreams that he has been recaptured and brought back to his dark and reeking dungeon, and opens his eyes to see heaven's vault spread above him, so it was with me, as I realised that my return to the nineteenth century had been the dream and my presence in the twentieth the reality.

    The cruel sights which I had witnessed in my vision, and could so well confirm from the experience of my former life . . . were, God be thanked, for ever passed by. (p. 248.).

    The book concludes with the interview of the supposed writer with his affianced bride, Edith Leete, the great-granddaughter of the Edith Bartlett, to whom he had been engaged more than a century before.

    This dream of the nineteenth century, which deceived your correspondent as it has done others, and, I presume, so disgusted them that they did not care to read to the end, is really the most artistic and lifelike portion of the book, since it brings before the reader in a most forcible manner the overwhelming differences between the two states of society pourtrayed.

Alfred R. Wallace.

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