Howells's traveler from the utopian commonwealth of Altruria
While living in San Francisco in the 1890s, he had been involved in the short-lived utopian community of Altruria
in Sonoma County.
Late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century utopian novels such as Bellamy's Looking Backward and Howells's Traveler from Altruria
, lament the way in which capitalism doesn't allow individuals to develop their innate talents and abilities.
William Dean Howells was so taken by Looking Backward that he wrote two utopia novels of his own, A Traveler from Altruria
and Through the Eye of the Needle.
In his so-called economic novels, especially <IR> A HAZARD OF NEW FORTUNES </IR> (1890) and <IR> A TRAVELER FROM ALTRURIA
</IR> (1894), he made close studies of American political and social conventions.
A Hazard of New Fortunes and A Traveler from Altruria
are studies of American social institutions.
Examples of the Rational paradigm include Christianopolis (1619), City of the Sun (1623), The New Atlantis (1627), The Isle of Pines (1668), Commonwealth of Oceana (1656), A Voyage to Icaria (1840), News From Nowhere (1890), A Traveler from Altruria
(1894), A Modern Utopia (1905), Equitania (1905), Herland (1916) and may also include many depictions of the golden age, such as the Garden of Eden in Genesis and the lost island of Atlantis in the Timaeus.
Instead of Hawthorne's use of a first-person narrator--a technique seen also in Looking Backward, Erewhon, the Herland/Ourland saga, Traveler from Altruria
, Ecotopia, and many other utopian novels--Hedden chooses to narrate the book from the third-person point of view of two different characters.
He considered both Bellamy's Looking Backward and the later Equality (1897) (which posits a key distinction between equality and uniformity), along with William Dean Howell's Traveler From Altruria
(1894), as "ancient types of American prophecy." These he duly noted in his second volume of film criticism, The Progress and Poetry of the Movies, posthumously published around the turn of the twentieth century (Lindsay, 1995, 297).