By Charles J. Rooney Jr.
Charles J. Rooney offers an analysis and descriptive bibliography of American utopian fiction between 1865 and 1917, the most productive period in the history of this genre. Rooney explores the history and sources of utopian writing in America, as reflected in the attitudes and values of the utopian writers, the problems they were most concerned with, and the types of solutions they offered. A quantitative analysis of the 106 works he identified as utopian reveals that utopian authors were most concerned with the increasing disparity between rich and poor. Rooney points out that although no one section of the country monopolized the output of utopian writing, the backgrounds of the authors were surprisingly similar. He finds that the solutions they proposed reflected their values and intellectual heritage as well as their political, economic, and social expectations of American society.