Brook Farm: The Dark Side of Utopia

Overview

Life at Brook Farm resembled an Arcadian adventure, in which the days began with the choir singing Mozart and Haydn and ended with drama and dancing. But how accurate is this image? In the first comprehensive examination of the famous utopian community in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, Sterling Delano reveals a surprisingly grim side to paradise as the Brook Farmers faced relentless financial pressures, a declining faith in their leaders, and smoldering class antagonisms.

Delano ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (5) from $20.95   
  • New (1) from $105.00   
  • Used (4) from $20.95   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$105.00
Seller since 2015

Feedback rating:

(215)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

Life at Brook Farm resembled an Arcadian adventure, in which the days began with the choir singing Mozart and Haydn and ended with drama and dancing. But how accurate is this image? In the first comprehensive examination of the famous utopian community in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, Sterling Delano reveals a surprisingly grim side to paradise as the Brook Farmers faced relentless financial pressures, a declining faith in their leaders, and smoldering class antagonisms.

Delano weaves through this remarkable story the voices of the Brook Farmers themselves, including their founder, George Ripley. Ripley founded Brook Farm in 1841 as an agrarian and pastoral society that would "insure a more natural union between intellectual and manual labor," yet he was surprisingly unprepared to lead it. Three years after its founding, Brook Farm was transformed into an industrial Phalanx. Longtime members departed, and key supporters withdrew. A smallpox scare, a financial lawsuit filed by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a devastating fire all contributed to the community's ultimate demise. Despite its failure, however, the Brook Farmers recalled only its positive aspects, including the opportunities there for women and its progressive educational program.

In his wonderfully evocative account, Delano gives us a more complete picture than ever before of Brook Farm, and vividly chronicles the spirit of the Transcendental age.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Booklist

Brook Farm is one of America's most famous utopian experiments. Located on a 200-acre dairy farm in Roxbury, Massachusetts, it was founded in 1841, a time of social ferment for women's rights, abolition, and worker's rights...Days of laboring in the fields began with classical music and ended with dramatic plays. Supporters included Nathanial Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller. Despite enthusiasm for the project, it failed after six years, primarily due to financial stress...Drawing on correspondence, documents, journals, and newspaper accounts, Delano also highlights the personal and class tensions that doomed the experiment. This is a compelling look at the history of progressive social movements in America and the failure of one of the best-known experiments.
— Vanessa Bush

Washington Post

In his copiously researched, briskly narrated chronicle of Brook Farm's life and times, Sterling Delano capably recaptures the exuberant mood of possibility surrounding the utopian community's founding and brief but celebrated career.
— Chris Lehmann

Bloomsbury Review

Brook Farm was founded by George Ripley in 1841 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. It was conceived as an agrarian and pastoral utopia. The experimental project imploded shortly thereafter, as a result of a little mischief-maker called human nature, and has remained ever after a cultural, historical, and philosophical curiosity. In this informative new book, author Sterling F. Delano, a professor of English at Villanova University, documents the dark side of paradise, as the Brookians fall prey to the worst of their own personalities.
— John A. Murray

Philadelphia Inquirer

Excellent éxpose (albeit a century and a half late) of the most famous American utopian experiment, made famous by the Transcendentalists and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance.
— Carlin Romano

Utopian Studies

Its ample documentation, notes, and authoritative sources will, in fact, appeal to the scholar, while its language, style and generally chronological development make the book accessible to a general audience seeking a history of the West Roxbury, Massachusetts, experiment…Delano explains that he intends to be "corrective" and "revisionary" and is particularly effective in clarifying Brook Farm's relationship to the transcendentalists, who were not wholly in support of the community as some accounts would have it…The book is notably successful in placing Brook Farm in the spirit of the era, relating it to the flood of intentional communities appearing during that period…Delano conjures up a sense of this vital, ambitious time in all its high-mindedness and sometimes misguided ventures…The story…is presented here with effective detail and breadth.
— Luise van Keuren

The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

This is a thorough, thoughtful, and immensely readable work deserving a careful reading from students and scholars in all areas of American history, literature, and culture.
— Sam Worley

Philip F. Gura
Brook Farm removes the mist and moonshine that hitherto has obscured America's most famous utopian experiment. This engaging history restores the full texture of this fascinating incarnation of American idealism.
Steven Mintz
There is a clear need for a study of Brook Farm that offers a humanistic perspective on the utopian experiment. This book fills that gap. In this comprehensive history, Sterling Delano sheds fascinating light on the values and attitudes of leading Transcendentalists.
Lawrence Buell
Transcendentalism is one of the most famous movements in American history, but astonishingly there has never been a modern history of one of its most significant chapters, the commune at Brook Farm. At long last, Sterling Delano has filled that gap very ably indeed.
Joel Myerson
Going beyond the usual sunny pictures of Brook Farm, Delano tells the full story of what Nathaniel Hawthorne termed 'the inner truth and spirit of the whole affair.' This is the book on Brook Farm, essential reading for anyone interested in utopian studies and the Transcendentalists.
Booklist - Vanessa Bush
Brook Farm is one of America's most famous utopian experiments. Located on a 200-acre dairy farm in Roxbury, Massachusetts, it was founded in 1841, a time of social ferment for women's rights, abolition, and worker's rights...Days of laboring in the fields began with classical music and ended with dramatic plays. Supporters included Nathanial Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller. Despite enthusiasm for the project, it failed after six years, primarily due to financial stress...Drawing on correspondence, documents, journals, and newspaper accounts, Delano also highlights the personal and class tensions that doomed the experiment. This is a compelling look at the history of progressive social movements in America and the failure of one of the best-known experiments.
Washington Post - Chris Lehmann
In his copiously researched, briskly narrated chronicle of Brook Farm's life and times, Sterling Delano capably recaptures the exuberant mood of possibility surrounding the utopian community's founding and brief but celebrated career.
Bloomsbury Review - John A. Murray
Brook Farm was founded by George Ripley in 1841 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. It was conceived as an agrarian and pastoral utopia. The experimental project imploded shortly thereafter, as a result of a little mischief-maker called human nature, and has remained ever after a cultural, historical, and philosophical curiosity. In this informative new book, author Sterling F. Delano, a professor of English at Villanova University, documents the dark side of paradise, as the Brookians fall prey to the worst of their own personalities.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Carlin Romano
Excellent éxpose (albeit a century and a half late) of the most famous American utopian experiment, made famous by the Transcendentalists and Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance.
Utopian Studies - Luise Van Keuren
Its ample documentation, notes, and authoritative sources will, in fact, appeal to the scholar, while its language, style and generally chronological development make the book accessible to a general audience seeking a history of the West Roxbury, Massachusetts, experiment…Delano explains that he intends to be "corrective" and "revisionary" and is particularly effective in clarifying Brook Farm's relationship to the transcendentalists, who were not wholly in support of the community as some accounts would have it…The book is notably successful in placing Brook Farm in the spirit of the era, relating it to the flood of intentional communities appearing during that period…Delano conjures up a sense of this vital, ambitious time in all its high-mindedness and sometimes misguided ventures…The story…is presented here with effective detail and breadth.
The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society - Sam Worley
This is a thorough, thoughtful, and immensely readable work deserving a careful reading from students and scholars in all areas of American history, literature, and culture.
Library Journal
Brook Farm was founded as an agricultural commune in Massachusetts in 1841, its members sharing a Transcendental social view and seeing their community as a union between intellectual and manual labor. Closed in 1847, the community was remembered as a positive experience by those associated with it. Delano (English, Villanova Univ.), however, presents another, less positive view. From the start, Brook Farm suffered from serious financial problems, including heavy debt. Its founder, George Ripley, and other community leaders lacked managerial experience and made poor decisions. In an effort to save the community, they aligned themselves with the American followers of French social scientist Charles Fourier, who advocated establishing industrial communes. This failed to resolve Brook Farm's financial problems and created tensions among longtime community members and the artisans brought in to operate the new industries. The lack of funds, legal problems (including a lawsuit by Nathaniel Hawthorne), and the destruction by fire of several buildings finally brought the dissolution of the community. This excellent example of revisionist history is based on the operating records of Brook Farm and other original sources. It makes a fine complement to Richard Francis's theoretical study of the community in Transcendental Utopias: Individual and Community at Brook Farm, Fruitlands and Walden. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Stephen L. Hupp, West Virginia Univ. Lib., Parkersburg Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674011601
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2004
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.42 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Sterling F. Delano is Professor of American Literature, Emeritus, at Villanova University.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Illustrations ix
Preface xi
Prologue 1
1 "Fermenting and Effervescing" 14
2 Beginnings 39
3 Organization 60
4 The Seeds of Fourierism 76
5 The Winds of Change 108
6 Reorganization 135
7 The Second Dispensation 156
8 From Association to Phalanx 184
9 The Harbinger 217
10 "Our Severest Crisis" 242
11 Fire 254
12 Beginning of the End 269
13 Back to Boston 284
14 "Done with Brook Farm" 302
Epilogue 311
Notes 331
Acknowledgments 415
Index 418
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)