ANGEL IN THE FOREST by Marguerite Young


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Twenty years before Miss MacIntosh, My Darling, Miss Young published this fervent account of the illusions and follies of mankind, as demonstrated by the attempts of the Rappites and the Owenites to establish successive (and unsuccessful) Utopias in New Harmony, Indiana. The opening section, on the Rappites, is nearly as full of flaming angels and mystic asides as was, apparently, Father Rapp himself, whose economically practical but celibate society folded after a few years. Robert Owen is treated rather more lucidly, and the account of his wildly mis-managed Socialist community and its eccentric inhabitants and mishaps is often entertaining. But Miss Young's intention is to show up human folly, and she brings a faint derisiveness to her study even of the serious achievements of Owen and many other men, and of the human tendency to plan, hope, work for a better world. This sweeping accentuation of the negative becomes overbearing and at last depressing and undermines the author's book for all its poetic intensity and interest of incident.

Publisher: Scribners