Cambridge Journals Digital Archives
English, American Studies
Shortly after Julian West awakened to Edward Bellamy's utopian Boston of the year 2000, he was given his first look at the city by his host, Dr. Leete. West nearly fainted at the “ prodigious thing which had befallen me.” Still in a daze, he was asked by Dr. Leete what surprised him most about the new Boston. “ I really think,” West responded, “ that the complete absence of chimneys and their smoke is the detail that first impressed me.” The city, as Bellamy went on to describe it, was an affair of fine buildings set in “ inclosures.” There were “ large open squares filled with trees, among which statues glistened and fountains flashed.” Julian West could see the Charles River, a “ blue ribbon winding away to the sunset,” and to the east was the harbor, “ not one of its green islets missing.” West's initial notice of the absence of smokestacks, coupled with Bellamy's first (and almost his only) physical description of the city, pointed up one of the most striking facts about Boston in the year 2000. The new city was park-like, even pastoral, in character. The entire apparatus of industrialism was kept sedulously out of sight, and the landscape, both physical and social, had come to look quite pre-industrial.
Type of Medium: