First published in , A Traveler from Altruria tells the story of a foreign visitor who presents the concept of a Utopian society. Howells hoped his novel would. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. William Dean Howells (March 1, – May 11, ) A Traveler from Altruria: Romance Kindle Edition. by. “I could not give you a clear account of the present state of things in my country,” the Altrurian began, “without first telling you something of our conditions before.

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The belief is that if men acknowledge their commonalities and work for each other, they will dispense with differences of rank and class. I am dangerously close to rating this book five stars. As all business had been gathered into the grasp of the Accumulation, and the manufacture of everything they used and the production of everything that they ate was in the control of the Accumulation, its transfer to the government was the work of a single clause in the statute.

I really liked this book. It is clear that Howells was well aware of the issues with Americas society at the time of this story. Lance Terro rated it liked it Nov 13, It demanded of the altruriia absolute immunity and absolute impunity, the right to do its will wherever and however it would, without question from the people who were the final law. In Altruria, anyone can have an opportunity if they want it.

There is a famous passage in the inaugural message of our first Altrurian president which compares the new civic consciousness with that of a disembodied spirit released to the life beyond this and freed from all the selfish cares and greeds of the flesh. America is one thing for you, and it’s quite another thing for us.

A Traveler from Altruria, by William Dean Howells

In Altruria, money is not a problem because there is not any. I will give you an traeler from the trades, which you will all understand. It is alien to our love of individuality “. This was probably not true; but I myself saw him helping in the hotel hay-field one afternoon, shirt-sleeved like any of the hired men.

The writing is easy and witty at times. Reprinted here as a historical document, the text is supported with a conprehensive introduction, chonology, an First published inA Traveler from Altruria tells the story of a foreign visitor who presents the concept of a Utopian society.


Opportunity usually comes from associations and people that are involved with money.

A Traveler from Altruria – Wikisource, the free online library

As opposed to egotismaltruism —a word coined during the first half of the 19th century by Auguste Comte —is unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Sep 15, Omnipotent Dystopian Now rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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.

Mainly, A Traveller from Altruria is a critique of unfettered capitalism and its consequences, and of the Gilded Age in particular. Zachary rated it it was ok Altrruia 22, altrruia Generally, Homos is surprised to find that neither Mr Twelvemough, the novelist, nor any of his acquaintances—a professor, a businessman, a manufacturer, a banker, and a clergyman —has any social relations whatsoever to people from the working classes or to any of the country people who permanently live in the area where they themselves just spend a few weeks each summer.

A Traveler from Altruria

But a single one will, perhaps, afford a sufficient illustration. Monopoly, not competition, was seen to be the beneficent means of distributing the favors and blessings of the Accumulation to mankind. However i’m getting more discerning with every book i read and in a world of infinite books i felt like deducting a star.

By common consent, cheap and faulty merchandise such as the “Saturday night shoe” is no longer produced. You will perhaps be interested to know that it was with the telegraphs that the rebellion against the Accumulation began, and the government was forced, by the overwhelming majority which the proletariate sent to our parliament, to assume a function which the Accumulation had impudently usurped.

In seasons of overproduction, as it was called, it locked the workmen out or laid them off, and left their families to starve, or ran light work and claimed the credit of public benefactors for running at all. The country was drained of its life and force, to feed the centres of commerce and industry. To their dismay, it becomes gradually clear to everyone involved in the conversations with Mr Homos—who in the course of the novel becomes less and less reluctant to talk about his own country—that the United States is greatly lagging behind Altruria in practically every aspect of life, be it political, economical, cultural, or moral.

Ian rated it liked it Nov 16, Plus a brief mention of a view spoiler [mega-corporation controlling all aspects of a country hide spoiler ]perhaps one of the first appearances of such an idea. William Dean Howells House Redtop home. It had its way, and under its rule we became the richest people under the sun. The Accumulation always said that it was the best friend of the proletariate, and it denounced, through the press which it controlled, the proletarian leaders who taught that it was the enemy of the proletariate, and who stirred up strikes and tumults of all sorts, for higher wages and fewer hours.


I’d definitely recommend this book as more of a social commentary than anything else. The first lesson of business, and the last, is to use other men’s gifts and powers.

At one point even the minister ruefully admits that there are no manual labourers in his congregation “I suppose they have their own churches”. Altrueia endured for a limited time, if we measure by the life of the race; it endured for an unlimited time frpm we measure by the lives of the men who were born and died while it endured.

Invention followed invention; our rivers and seas altrjria the warp of commerce where the steam-sped shuttles carried the woof of enterprise to and fro with tireless celerity; machines to save labor multiplied themselves as if they had been procreative forces, and wares of every sort were produced with incredible swiftness and cheapness.

Crom, whatever they are, God forbid atruria the likeness which you seem to recognize should ever go so far as the desperate state of things which we finally reached. Yes, we are all Americans, but I guess we haven’t all got the same country, Mrs. The opinions of the American elites in this book read like a modern Republican presidential platform. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. One hour sufficed where twelve hours were needed before, and the operatives were released to the happy labor of the fields, where no one with us toils killingly, from dawn till dusk, but does only as much work as is needed to keep the body in health.