A Season in Utopia: The Story of Brook Farm

A Season in Utopia: The Story of Brook Farm

A Season in Utopia: The Story of Brook Farm

A Season in Utopia: The Story of Brook Farm

Excerpt

"THERE CAN HARDLY FLICKER UP AGAIN SO CHEERY A BLAZE UPON THE hearth as that which I remember at Blithedale," laments Coverdale, the narrator of Hawthorne Blithedale Romance , recalling his arrival at the Utopian Community which bears such a striking resemblance to Brook Farm. "It was a woodfire in the parlor of an old farmhouse, on an April afternoon, but with fitful gusts of a wintry snowstorm roaring in the chimney."

One may safely assume that Coverdale's first impressions of Blithedale reflect his creator's on a similar occasion. For on the twelfth of April, 1841, Nathaniel Hawthorne set out from Boston and drove to West Roxbury to join "the company of socialists" which his friends, George and Sophia Ripley, just ten days before, had set up at Brook Farm. As may be seen from Hawthorne's letters, the real and the fictional journey are almost identical.

For Coverdale--as for Nathaniel Hawthorne ten years before--the weather proved treacherous that day. "When morning dawned upon me, in town, its temperature was mild enough to be pronounced even balmy, by a lodger, like myself, in one of the midmost houses of a brick block,--each house partaking of the warmth of all the rest, besides the sultriness of its individual furnace-heat. But towards noon there had come snow, driven along the street by a northeasterly blast, and whiten . . .

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