This chapter focuses on American utopian novels written from the 1880s to the beginning of World War I. These works represented a cultural form that emerged in tandem with economic and industrial expansion and helped to express the mood of Progressive Era reform. Utopian novelists took a variety of positions on the major political issues of the day, from the rise of big corporations and the growing chasm between rich and poor, to immigration and women's rights. This convergence between the apparently antithetical fields of business and utopianism does more than confirm the popularity of the utopian novel. It also confirms one of its central purposes: to reconcile the harsh effects of capitalist expansion. Authors such as Gillette and Peck argued that the values of innovation and enterprise needed to be reconciled with humanistic and spiritual values.
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