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Looking Backward, America's classic contribution to theutopian novel, has a religious genesis which has never been fully explored. Although Edward Bellamy has received widespread critical attention, his thought has not been adequately related to the religious temper of his time and region. Reared in traditional Calvinist concepts with emphasis on prayer, soul-searching, and individual respectability, Bellamy propounded new, daring concepts of the divine to meet the challenges posed by the industrialization of New England. In his religious doubts and strivings, he drew from, and contributed heavily to, three inter-related movements that reshaped religious thought in late nineteenth-century America—the New Theology, the Religion of Humanity, and the Social Gospel. This paper presents religion as a major genetic factor in Edward Bellamy's social thought and in modern American intellectual.
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