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Richard Francis
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philosophy
Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia
 
 
Author
Richard Francis.
Publisher Yale  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.9 x 5.75 x 0.95 inches
ISBN 9780300177909
Pages/Publication Date 321/2010
Daedalus Item Code 42507
List Price: $19.00
Sale Price: $4.98
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Description
Fruitlands was one of history's most unsuccessful yet most significant utopian experiments. It was established in Massachusetts in 1843 by Bronson Alcott (whose daughter Louisa May was among the members) and Englishman Charles Lane, who hoped to transform society and redeem the environment through a strict regimen of veganism and celibacy. But physical suffering and emotional conflict, particularly between Lane and Alcott's wife Abigail, made the community unsustainable. Richard Francis explores how the philosophical beliefs held by Alcott, Lane, and their fellow idealists held up in their day-to-day lives, and offers a vivid and often very funny narrative of their travails.

"Francis brilliantly dissects it all: the diction, the false hopes, the sheer naivety.... But he somehow manages to be admirably even-handed, acknowledging that many of Alcott's ideas—regarding the environment, diet, feminism and civil disobedience—were more than a century ahead of their time."—Observer (London)

"Fruitlands is one of the most interesting fiascos in 19th-century America and [the author] tells the whole poignant, puzzling tale with scholarly precision and narrative gusto."—Catholic Herald

 
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