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Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2011

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


American Studies

First Advisor

Louis Masur

Second Advisor

Joan Hedrick


Nineteenth-century Americans fantasized about utopia. In 1840s Massachusetts, two members of the Transcendental Club formed their own utopian communities. George Ripley's Brook Farm lasted for six years, from 1841 to 1847, while A. Bronson Alcott's more radical experiment at Fruitlands only lasted six months, from the summer of 1843 to January of 1844. Many scholars have revisited the ideologies behind Brook Farm and Fruitlands, but little attention has been paid to the communities' critics. Here the criticisms of Brook Farm and Fruitlands are examined, from Ralph Waldo Emerson's dismissal of their community-based philosophies to the satirical fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in American Studies. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only.