Brook Farm

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Cooperative community (1841–47) near West Roxbury, Mass., nine miles from Boston. Under George Ripley, the Transcendental Club established the community to apply its theories, forming a stock company under the name Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education. Among those interested in it were Hawthorne, Charles Dana, John S. Dwight, George W. Curtis, Theodore Parker, Orestes Brownson, Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Peabody, C. P. Cranch, Bronson Alcott, W. E. Channing, and Emerson. Of these, only Hawthorne, who wrote about it in The Blithedale Romance, and Dana and Dwight lived there. Among the objectives were the promotion of the great purposes of human culture and brotherly cooperation, in order to secure the highest benefits of physical, intellectual, and moral education. The life of the community was simple, all members sharing in the work and the educational and social advantages, and receiving similar pay. Occupations included the tilling of the farm, industrial employments, and school teaching. In 1843 it came under the influence of Albert Brisbane, an influential New York journalist, and soon turned into a Fourierist phalanx. As the U.S. center of Fourierism it issued The Phalanx (1843–45) and The Harbinger (1845). When an incomplete central phalanstery was burned, enthusiasm waned and the group dissolved (Oct. 1847). The Fourierist period is described in the Letters (1928) of Marianne Dwight Orvis.

Subjects: Literature.

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