excerpt from The Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne
In this excerpt from The Student Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne by Melissa
McFarland Pennell, she discusses links between Hawthornes experience at Brook Farm and his novel, The Blithedale Romance. (courtesy of Greenwood Press)
Hawthorne states in the preface [of The Blithedale Romance] that his romance is not a direct
portrayal of his experience at Brook Farm. The Brook Farm community does provide background
for the narrative and reveals the idealism of Hawthornes own day. It was established in 1841 near
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, under the leadership of George Ripley. One of its striking features
was the number of writers, artists, and thinkers who chose to participate or to support the project.
They hoped to find ways of balancing the life of work with the life of creativity. All members
shared in the physical labor of running the farm, and all received similar pay (124).