The Times of Melville and Whitman

The Times of Melville and Whitman

The Times of Melville and Whitman

The Times of Melville and Whitman

Excerpt

When the Brook Farmers disbanded, in the autumn of 1847, a number of the brightest spirits settled in New York, where The Tribune , Horace Greeley paper, welcomed their ideas and gladly made room on its staff for George Ripley, their founder. New York in the middle of the nineteenth century, almost as much perhaps as Boston, bubbled with movements of reform, with the notions of the spiritualists, the phrenologists, the mesmerists and what not, and the Fourierists especially had found a forum there for discussions of "attractional harmony" and "passional hygiene." It was the New Yorker Albert Brisbane who had met the master himself in Paris, where Fourier was working as a clerk with an American firm, and paid him for expounding his system in regular lessons. Then Brisbane in turn converted Greeley and the new ideas had reached Brook Farm, where the members transformed the society into a Fourierist phalanx. The Tribune had played a decisive part in this as in other intellectual matters, for Greeley was unique among editors in his literary flair. Some years before, Margaret Fuller had come to New York to write for him, and among the Brook Farmers on his staff, along with "Archon" Ripley, were George William Curtis and Dana, the founder of The Sun .

One could scarcely recognize the old town of the Knickerbockers in this turmoil of movements and groups and exotic ideas, the water-cure and Graham bread as well as . . .

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