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Fruitlands : The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia



Trade Paper
Pub. Date:
Yale University Press


Fruitlands was one of history's most unsuccessful but most significant utopian experiments. It was established in Massachusetts in 1843 by Bronson Alcott (whose daughter Louisa May, future author of Little Women, was among the members) and an Englishman called Charles Lane. They believed people could transform society by following a strict regime of veganism and celibacy, looking back towards the Garden of Eden while anticipating our present preoccupations with ecology and environ mental ism. But physical suffering and emotional conflict - ultimately developing into a battle between Lane and Abigail Alcott for possession of her husband - brought the experiment to an untimely end.

Author Biography

Richard Francis has taught at universities on both sides of the Atlantic and has previously written on Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers, and on the Salem witch trials. He is also a novelist.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
The Seed
To Reproduce Perfect Menp. 15
Now I Know What Thought Isp. 32
A Joy in a Winding Sheetp. 46
Fabling of Worldsp. 69
Rembrandt's Potp. 84
The Fruit
Hesitations at the Plungep. 97
The Mind Yields, Falters, and Failsp. 107
The Little Wicket Gatep. 117
The Principle of Inverse Ratiop. 137
Diffusive Illimitable Benevolencep. 155
The New Waves Curlp. 173
Utter Subjection of the Bodyp. 185
The Consociate Family Lifep. 199
Penniless Pilgrimagesp. 211
Softly Doth the Sun Descendp. 227
Nectar in a Sievep. 240
Cain and Abelp. 253
Tumbledown Hallp. 269
Conclusionp. 278
Notesp. 284
Sourcesp. 303
Indexp. 311
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