Though Bellamy tended to stress the independence of his work, Looking Backward shares relationships and resemblances with several earlier works — most notably the anonymous The Great Romance (1881), John Macnie's The Diothas (1883), Laurence Gronlund's The Co-operative Commonwealth (1884), and August Bebel's Woman in the Past, Present, and Future (1886). For example, in The True Author of Looking Backward (1890) J.B. Shipley argued that Bellamy's novel was a repeat of Bebel's arguments, whilst literary critic R. L. Shurter went so far as to argue that "Looking Backward is actually a fictionalized version of The Co-operative Commonwealth and little more". However, Bellamy's book also bears resemblances to the early socialist theorists or 'utopian socialists' Etienne Cabet, Charles Fourier, Robert Owen and Henri Saint-Simon, as well as to the 'Associationism' of Albert Brisbane whom Bellamy had met in the 1870s.
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