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Author Francis, Richard, 1945-

Title Fruitlands : the Alcott family and their search for utopia / by Richard Francis.

Publication Info. New Haven : Yale University Press, [2010]


Location Call No. Status
 East Hartford, Raymond Library - Adult Department  307.77 F    Check Shelf
 Granby, Main Library - Adult  B ALCOTT FAMILY    Check Shelf
Description viii, 321 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents The Seed -- To reproduce perfect men -- Now I know what thought is -- A joy in a winding sheet -- Fabling of worlds -- Rembrandt's pot -- The Fruit -- Hesitations at the plunge -- The mind yields, falters, and fails -- The little wicket gate -- The principle of inverse ratio -- Diffusive illitimable benevolence -- The new waves curl -- Utter subjection of the body -- The consociate family life -- Penniless pilgrimages -- Softly doth the sun descend -- Nectar in a sieve -- Cain and Abel -- Tumbledown Hall.
Summary This is a definitive account of Fruitlands, one of history's most unsuccessful, but most significant, utopian experiments. It was established in Massachusetts in 1843 by Bronson Alcott (whose ten year old daughter Louisa May, future author of Little Women, was among the members) and an Englishman called Charles Lane, under the watchful gaze of Emerson, Thoreau, and other New England intellectuals. Alcott and Lane developed their own version of the doctrine known as Transcendentalism, hoping to transform society and redeem the environment through a strict regime of veganism and celibacy. But physical suffering and emotional conflict, particularly between Lane and Alcott's wife, Abigail, made the community unsustainable. Drawing on the letters and diaries of those involved, the author explores the relationship between the complex philosophical beliefs held by Alcott, Lane, and their fellow idealists and their day to day lives. The result is a vivid and often very funny narrative of their travails, demonstrating the dilemmas and conflicts inherent to any utopian experiment and shedding light on a fascinating period of American history.
Subject Fruitlands (Harvard, Mass.) -- History.
Alcott, Amos Bronson, 1799-1888 -- Family.
Lane, Charles, 1800-1870.
Utopias -- Massachusetts -- Harvard -- History -- 19th century.
Communal living -- Massachusetts -- Harvard -- History -- 19th century.
Transcendentalism (New England)
Massachusetts -- History -- 1775-1865.
ISBN 9780300140415 cloth alkaline paper
030014041X cloth alkaline paper
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