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A Traveler from Altruria

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  10 reviews
First published in 1894, A Traveler from Altruria tells the story of a foreign visitor who presents the concept of a Utopian society. Howells hoped his novel would allow readers to confront the inconsistencies, imperfections, and injustices of Gilded Age America. Reprinted here as a historical document, the text is supported with a conprehensive introduction, chonology, an ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published March 15th 1996 by Bedford/St. Martin's (first published 1894)
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Wreade1872
Utopian fiction, without the utopian part of it :P. So this entire thing is done as a series of conversations, its like one big lecture, so not great.
Its a fairly easy read though and since its about the gap between rich and poor its still relevant today. In fact i would say too relevant, or at least too familiar.
There are things of interest here. The writing is easy and witty at times. There's some some very blinkered sexism which you can laugh or wince at. Plus a brief mention of a (view spoil
...more
Theo!
Nov 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
My classmates hated this book and I have no idea why. Perhaps they're stupid? ...more
Norman Cook
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This political/economic treatise first published in 1894 could really be about modern Western society. It's a book about class and gender inequality, civil rights, and economic injustice. While we have made strides in all of those areas, there is still a large portion of the population that believes that "human nature" prevents us all from being equal. (Interestingly, the book does not address the topic of racial inequality; I guess that was t ...more
Bryan
Mar 04, 2011 rated it it was ok
it reads like a political pamphlet from time to time. Or, more specifically, like a religious tract where the characters are simply used as types (void of real characterization) in order to create a setting for a debate regarding society. It is a combination of a utopia and travel narrative novel. Despite the lack of aesthetic appeal, it does offer several important probing questions regarding politics, and work.
Omnipotent Dystopian Now
This is a great late-1800s utopian story. The writing is crisp, and the ending is profound. What I enjoyed most about this story is the way it portrays class warfare in America that is still relevant today.
Lisa
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I really liked this book. Makes you think about the American system in a way that you don't normally think about. Put into a novel form but still really good info on the system, politics, and the American dream. ...more
Hyrax
Mar 20, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars, really. The story isn't very eventful which can make it a chore to read, but the book is 120+ years old and still so remarkably relevant that it's worth reading. I'd definitely recommend this book as more of a social commentary than anything else. ...more
joseph
Dec 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am dangerously close to rating this book five stars. It may be impossible to read, but should be an essential read for American culture.
Jason Payne
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh. A society that naturally evolves toward altruism is pretty hard to swallow.
Omnipotent Dystopian Now
This is a great late-1800s utopian story. The writing is crisp, and the ending is profound. What I enjoyed most about this story is the way it portrays class warfare in America that is still relevant today.
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Willam Dean Howells was a novelist, short story writer, magazine editor, and mentor who wrote for various magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and Harper's Magazine.

In January 1866 James Fields offered him the assistant editor role at the Atlantic Monthly. Howells accepted after successfully negotiating for a higher salary, but was frustrated by Fields's close supervision. Howells was made e
...more

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