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Monday, 04 June 2007

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Scott Eric Kaufman

The hotspot isn't working. "This site" on the poster should lead you here. Stupid ... something or other.

Rich Puchalsky

That was easy. Try the postscript (a reply to a review, apparently attached to the book in some edition according to Amazon books).

Scott Eric Kaufman

How'd you find that? I have three different editions and didn't see it, and nothing turned up in Google. What wizard work are you performing here?

Rich Puchalsky

Who knows what evil icebergs lurk in the hearts of databases? The freelance librarian knows!

In this case, the original quote really wasn't "become at least unstable" -- it's actually "become at last unstable". That made your Google search not work. But I wasn't fooled, because I know that to find any source text through Google, you really only need to search on about eight words or so. Copying and searching more than that increases your chances of not finding anything due to a misquotation.

Scott Eric Kaufman

You know, I broke it up, but must've ended up with "least" in every single chunk. Bah. Tells you what kind of day it's been. (That and The Fun With Photoshop, I should say.)

Scott Eric Kaufman

'Gads, I seem to've forgotten my manners: Thank you, Rich, for finding the source of this very useful quotation.

Jamie

You chose a picture of an iceberg with a face on purpose, didn't you? Admit it! Great stuff. Sorry Rich figured it out so quick.

Scott Eric Kaufman

That I did, Jamie, that I did. However, since the hotspots aren't working, I'll add that I borrowed the photo from these astute eyes, to whom credit would've been given, had I more mad technical skillz.

JPool

You've probably noticed it already, but the fuller quotation rather strikingly parallels the Lincoln quote that Kugelmass parsed a little while ago in its "Big-time either good or bad stuff coming down" argument, rather than Second Internationalist-style revolutionary fatalism. So this may be the right iceberg, but not the one you thought you were looking for.

JPool

You've probably noticed it already, but the fuller quotation rather strikingly parallels the Lincoln quote that Kugelmass parsed a little while ago in its "Big-time either good or bad stuff coming down" argument, rather than Second Internationalist-style revolutionary fatalism. So this may be the right iceberg, but not the one you thought you were looking for.

The Necromancer

For further detail...I have a New American Library version of the book (1960...with a foreword by Erich Fromm) and the quote indeed does come from the postscript. It's a letter to the editor of The Boston Transcript dated March 30, 1888. The last paragraph continues:

"All thoughtful men agree that the present aspect of society is portentious of great changes. The only question is, whether they will be for the better or the worse. Those who believe in man's essential nobleness lean to the former view, those who believe in his essential baseness to the latter. For my part, I hold to the former opinion. Looking Backward was written in the belief that the Golden Age lies before us and not behind us, and is not far away. Our children will surely see it, and we, too, who are already men and women, if we deserve it by our faith and our works."

Utopian, to say the least...

JPool

Well, the novel as described certainly seems utopian, in the Thomas Moore sense, but the attitude of the author, as expressed here, is not utopian, but is something like millenarial, in what seems like the Christian socialist tradition. The "if we deserve it by our faith and our works" line is telling.

The Necromancer

Yup, it's definitely "social gospel"/proto-progressive. The novel is a blend of this and other more standard utopian themes. Collectivist too -- In Bellamy's future, no one needs an umbrella...

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