Based on Hawthorne's own experience of a Utopian socialist community outside Boston, The Blithedale Romance tells of the attempts of a like-minded group to begin reforming a dissipated America. However, rather than dropping bad habits and changing the world, Coverdale the prurient bachelor, Hollingsworth the furious philanthropist, Zenobia the voluptuous feminist, and Priscilla the vulnerable seamstress soon find themselves pursuing egotistical paths which
must lead ultimately to tragedy. Evoking a bright rural idyll which fails to survive the ravages of lust and power, Hawthorne cynically undermines the fatuities of nineteenth-century American idealism.
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