By William Dean Howells
Set throughout the early Eighteen Nineties in a trendy summer time inn someplace at the East Coast of the USA, the booklet is narrated by means of a Mr Twelvemough, a well-liked writer of sunshine fiction who has been chosen to operate as host to a customer from the far off island of Altruria known as Mr Homos. Homos has come all of the strategy to the U.S. to adventure first-hand lifestyle within the kingdom which prides itself to symbolize democracy and equality, to work out for himself how the main that "all males are created equivalent" is being practiced.
However, as a result of Altruria's secluded lifestyles little or no is understood approximately that kingdom, so Twelvemough and his circle of neighbors, all of whom are staying on the comparable resort, are extra wanting to research whatever approximately Altruria than to give an explanation for American lifestyles and associations. To their dismay, it turns into steadily transparent to everybody inquisitive about the conversations with Mr Homos—who throughout the novel turns into much less and not more reluctant to discuss his personal country—that the USA is tremendously lagging at the back of Altruria in virtually each point of existence, be it political, affordable, cultural, or ethical. therefore, within the novel the island kingdom of Altruria serves as a foil to the US, whose electorate, in comparison to Altrurians, look egocentric, passionate about funds, and emotionally imbalanced. mostly, A visitor from Altruria is a critique of unfettered capitalism and its results, and of the Gilded Age in particular.
In A vacationer from Altruria, Howells recognizes the background of Utopian literature by means of having his team of trained characters discuss with eminent representatives of that literary culture corresponding to Campanella (La città del Sole, 1602) and Francis Bacon (New Atlantis, 1623), but in addition to particularly fresh authors like Edward Bellamy (Looking Backward, 1888) and William Morris (News from Nowhere, 1890). "With all these imaginary commonwealths to attract upon, from Plato, via extra, Bacon, and Campanella, all the way down to Bellamy and Morris, he has built the shakiest effigy ever made from previous outfits full of straw," says the professor, certainly one of Homos's dialogue companions, to his fellow americans. "Depend upon it, the fellow is a humbug. he isn't an Altrurian at all."
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A Traveler from Altruria by William Dean Howells