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 th
e 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. Evokin
g a bright rural idyll which fails to survive the ravages of lust and power, Hawthorne cynically undermines the fatuities of nineteenth-century American idealism.