Angel in the Forest: A Fairy Tale of Two Utopias

Overview

This is the first paperback edition of Marguerite Young's fascinating chronicle of two attempts to establish utopian communities in nineteenth-century America.Angel in the Forest recounts the strange tale of New Harmony, Indiana. The original community was founded in 1814 by the German mystic Father George Rapp, who, with a group of English immigrants, implemented his own theories for a perfect community, this time based on rationalism. Both experiments failed, but Young finds in both a distinctively American ...

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Overview

This is the first paperback edition of Marguerite Young's fascinating chronicle of two attempts to establish utopian communities in nineteenth-century America.Angel in the Forest recounts the strange tale of New Harmony, Indiana. The original community was founded in 1814 by the German mystic Father George Rapp, who, with a group of English immigrants, implemented his own theories for a perfect community, this time based on rationalism. Both experiments failed, but Young finds in both a distinctively American yearning for utopia, which continues to characterize the American spirit to this day: a tradition of faith and folly can be traced from Owen's New Moral World to George Bush's New World Order. Written with the same elegance, wit, and lyric beauty that distinguishes her fiction,Angel in the Forestwas widely praised upon its first publication in 1945. This edition includes Mark Van Doren's introduction to Scribner's 1966 reprint.

Dalkey Archive Press

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
She is a superb storyteller whose allusions, images and digressions are even more telling than the story told.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
With the extravagance of a poet rather than the pedantry of a historian, Young's long out of print study conjures up the spirit of two failed 19th-century attempts to establish utopias in New Harmony, Ind. The first was the celibate, spiritual society of Father Rapp 1814-1825, the other the rational, socialist order of Robert Owen 1825-1827. Father Rapp presided over a strict, regimented community dictated by the visitation of an angel, guiding his people to prosperity through the sale of everything from hogs and shoes to gunpowder and whiskey, but creating a repressive regime that required slavish obedience--sexual abstinence was enforced, even when it meant emasculating his own son when that son fathered a child. Owen, by contrast, preached a doctrine of rationality, equality, happiness and social sympathy, that people are not innately sinful but molded by institutions. To put his ideals into practice, he transformed the Scottish mill town of New Lanark according to humanitarian principles, and then purchased New Harmony from Rapp to create a model of socialist perfection--a vain but splendid dream. Young relates all this in a lavish style that evokes the magic and pathos of the experiments. She is a superb storyteller whose allusions, images and digressions are even more telling than the story told. Aug.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781564780546
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1994
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 331
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.03 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Marguerite Young is best known as the author ofMiss MacIntosh, My Darling, a 1200-page novel published to great critical acclaim in 1965 and since then considered a landmark of contemporary American literature.

Dalkey Archive Press

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