Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Repeat Experiment

Being sluggish yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon reading Invincible Louisa, a children's biography of Louisa May Alcott. (D1 was more interested in trying to read it, too, than she was in eating. She is definitely our child.) The whole family was good friends with Emerson, Thoreau, et al., and very influenced by Transcendentalism. At one point Louisa's father, Bronson Alcott, seriously considered leaving his beloved family in order to pursue experiments in communal living more effectively. The author summed up the whole episode by saying:

"Something was very wrong with the world, every one said. Here and there a few were trying to organize totally new schemes of living. So many were tried that we do not have to try them over again today."

Of course, this book was written in 1933. By the time another thirty years had passed, apparently a lot of people had forgotten the experiments of the 1840s and did need to try them over again.

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