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Brook Farm: An American Attempt at Utopia
Compiled by Richard Seltzer

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Brook Farm: An American Attempt at Utopia

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Brook Farm: An American Attempt at Utopia
Compiled and Indexed by Richard Seltzer
B&R Samizdat Express - January 11, 2006
ISBN: 0-917466-24-1
Genre: History, Literature, Biography

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - February 28, 2006

George Ripley was a Unitarian minister who resigned his Church ministry in 1840 and set out to found his own church where he could apply his transcendental ideas. In 1841 he established the Brook Farm Institute for Agriculture and Education, near West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Brook Farm was socialist-based community that sought to synthesis intellectual and spiritual development with manual labor and personal freedom. The farm was organized on a Fourierism foundation with numerous socialist underpinning, each member of the Farm shared equally in the work and running of the farm, although private ownership, in the form of stock shares, was allowed. (Fourierism was a social reform movement started by Charles Fourier, who advocated that society would best be served by having it reorganized into small self-sustaining communal groups called phalansteries.) In addition to farm work, the members of Brook Farm also ran a 'progressive' school based on transcendental ideals. The farm folded in 1847 due to debt. However, during its short existence this utopian adventure was to influence numerous literary and philosophical works that are still influential today.

Richard Seltzer has gathered together more than fifty books associated with Brook Farm and the Transcendental movement. The main body of this collection consists of works by Nathaniel Hawthorne (a Brook Farm member) and by two regular visitors to the farm, namely Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. You'll also find works by Margaret Fuller (Ossolli), Annie Fields, John Van Dee Zee Sears, John Thomas Codman, and Frank Preston Stearns.

The books in this collection are essential reading for anyone interested in the Transcendentalism as well as in reading some excellent examples of American Literary works of the period. Some of the works that you will encounter in this collection include: The Brook Farm collection is organized onto a single CD-ROM, with all the files saved in a plain-text formatting, making the books readily accessible by individuals using screen reading and magnification programs. In addition, this CD collection offers readers access to a shelf's worth of books for less than the price of most hardcovered books. This collection is ideal for both public and private libraries.


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