Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ratcliffe, Krista

Second Advisor

Reid, Margaret


Looking backward, I am amazed at how my dissertation is the culmination of serendipitous events. Perhaps the crystalizing moment occurred when Dr. Kent P. Ljungquist, of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute and editor of the revised version of The Dictionary of Literary Biography.: Antebellum Writers in New York and the South, asked me to include in my profile of Albert Brisbane some comments on the influence that Brisbane had on American literature. This simple request propelled me to later consider the connections that I had sensed between, on the one hand, Brisbane and the utopian movement in mid-nineteenth-century America known as "Associationism," and on the other hand such nineteenth-century writers as James Fenimore Cooper, Nathaniel Hawthorne, the members of the utopian community "Ceresco," Edward Bellamy, Andrew Carnegie, and Jacob A. Riis. My association with Dr. Ljungquist was itself the result of my name being passed along to him for his editing project after I had applied for a fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society, also located at Worcester, Massachusetts. My interest in Brisbane is the result of those quirky circumstances that comprise life. While taking a course in the Fall of 1996 entitled "American Literature from 1798 to 1865," taught by Dr. Gail Smith at Marquette University, I was first introduced to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance. The setting of the book, a quasi-Brook Farm community, reminded me that Ripon, Wisconsin (a few hours' drive from Milwaukee and home to a college that I had come within a hairbreadth of attending for my bachelor's degree) had once been home to a utopian community. While doing the preliminary research for what was to become a graduate seminar paper, I discovered that not only had there been this utopian community at Ripon, known as "Ceresco," but that it was affiliated with the movement that originated with Brisbane and to which Brook Farm later affiliated: the American Union of Associationists. During later courses at Marquette University with Dr. Margaret Reid and with Dr. Heather Hathaway, I was encouraged to continue to develop and complicate my thinking and analysis of the community and its correspondence with the official publication of the A.U.A., The Harbinger.



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