Added Upon - a Mormon Response to Looking Backwards?

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honorentheos
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Added Upon - a Mormon Response to Looking Backwards?

Post by honorentheos »

The chapter from our reading on Orwell titled, "Utopia Fever" is the first place I ever heard of the book, Looking Backward: 2000, by Edward Bellemy. I found the chapter fascinating for many reason.

I'm wondering, since this is a Mormon discussion board first and foremost - did anyone else who read this chapter wonder if this best selling, influential novel published in 1888, influence Nephi Anderson to write the equally lost gem Added Upon published 10 years later in 1898? I can't help but think that there was some kind of borrowed idea here where a Mormon author looked at the secular utopian novel written from the perspective of a contemporary visitor to an idealized future and thought, "You want utopia? What's more utopian than the celestial kingdom?"

it may be worth more study.
honorentheos
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Re: Added Upon - a Mormon Response to Looking Backwards?

Post by honorentheos »

From the Publisher
First published in 1888, Looking Backward was one of the most popular novels of its day. Translated into more than twenty languages, its utopian fantasy influenced such thinkers as John Dewey, Thorstein Veblen, Eugene V. Debs, and Norman Thomas. Writing from a nineteenth century perspective and poignantly critical of his own time, Bellamy advanced a remarkable vision of the future, including such daring predictions as the existence of radio, television, motion pictures, and credit cards.
On the surface, the novel is the story of time traveler Julian West, a young Bostonian who is put into a hypnotic sleep in the late nineteenth century and awakens in the year 2000 in a socialist utopia. Crime, war, personal animosity, and want are nonexistent. Equality of the sexes is a fact of life. In short, a messianic state of brotherly love is in effect.
Entertaining and stimulating, Looking Backward, is a provocative study of human society as it is and as it might be.
honorentheos
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Re: Added Upon - a Mormon Response to Looking Backwards?

Post by honorentheos »

One of the claims made about Added Upon is that it remained in print until it's copyright expired in 2005 and is now widely available. It was described as having been read by practically everyone in Utah in a rememberance of the author. Looking Backwards seems to have even eclipsed this fame in it's day. In the case of Added Upon, it may have been rebooted as a musical for a new generation in the form of Saturday's Warrior. But Looking Backward just sort of disappeared from relevance.

I've been chewing on this idea of Utopias as presented in The Ministry of Truth and find myself wondering - is it the case that the only persistent utopian ideas are found in religion?
Philo Sofee
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Re: Added Upon - a Mormon Response to Looking Backwards?

Post by Philo Sofee »

Interesting. I think on thinking about it then yes Utopian ideas are found mostly in religions, but they appear as focusing on other worlds. A fascinating theme without question, but this world is more ignored or downplayed for the Utopian wish and the focus changes to somewhere and somewhen else, which is perhaps why the really good ones that emotionally attach themselves to someone keeps relevant, perhaps? Just thinkin out loud off the top of my head. I still haven't made the time yet to get very far into the book, ayiyi.
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