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The Ideological Matrix of Reform in Late-19th-Century America and New Zealand: Reading Bellamy's Looking Backward

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 July 2009

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The late 19th Century witnessed the beginnings of a profound transformation of the political culture in the industrialized world. With the rise of reform movements concerned with labor, religion, women's rights, and a host of other matters, the winds of change blew around the globe. These crosscurrents were particularly evident in the Anglo-American environment where the ideology of reform reflected certain continuities of culture among the English-speaking countries. In particular, this period of reform saw the development of significant connections between America and New Zealand. While Peter Coleman has ably analyzed the exchanges of ideas that shaped legislation and emergent progressivism in both countries, he has not adequately addressed the complexity of the cultural and ideological dimensions of these exchanges. In considering those cultural and ideological dimensions, I will attempt to offer some insight into the political culture of reform in both countries at the end of the 19th Century.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1992

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57. Since there is no extensive biography of Richmond, Maurice, these biographical highlights were culled from The Cyclopedia of New Zealand, vol. 1 (Wellington: R. E. Owen, 1896), p. 476Google Scholar; letters in The Richmond-Atkinson Papers, vol. 2, ed. Scholefield, Guy H. (Wellington: R. E. Owen, 1960), esp. p. 535Google Scholar; and the Mary E. Richmond collection (Maurice's mother) in the Turnbull Archives. In the Mary Richmond papers, I found two formal notices from Maurice's Club indicating that the March 31 and April 28, 1890, meetings would discuss Looking Backward.

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60. The series was later collected under Reeves's name as Some Historical Articles on Communism and Socialism (Christchurch: Lyttelton Times, 1890)Google Scholar. All page numbers are references to this text and are cited in the main body of this essay.

61. Reeves, W. P., “A Helpless Spectator,” Zealandia 1 (07 1889): 2836Google Scholar. All further page references to this story are cited in the text. For an extended discussion of intertextuality, see Frow, , Marxism and Literary Form, pp. 125–69.Google Scholar

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76. On this paradox of Christian Socialism, see Suvin, Darko, Metamorphoses of Science Fiction: On the Poetics and History of a Literary Genre (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979), p. 191.Google Scholar

77. Pfaelzer, , Utopian Novel, p. 33Google Scholar. Bellamy's religious subtext for Looking Backward followed from such comments in his unpublished manuscripts: the “idea that men being brothers should live together as brothers is as old as the first aspirations of humanity. It is the heart of all religion and the express meaning of Christ.… All I have done in Looking Backward, all I aim … to do is to show certain ways whereby men can realize this ideal” (quoted in Bowman, , Year 2000, p. 189).Google Scholar

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83. Cited in Clarke, I. F., The Pattern of Expectation, 1644–2001 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1979), p. 163.Google Scholar

84. Canterbury Times, 12 1, 1892, p. 26.Google Scholar

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93. Quoted in Sinclair, , William Pember Reeves, pp. 157–58.Google Scholar

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