American women published dozens of utopian novels between 1836 and 1900, yet little is known about the readers who consumed them. Hilda's Home first appeared as a serialized story in Lucifer, the Light-Bearer, a weekly filled with letters from rural and working-class readers troubled by the social ills caused by late-nineteenth-century industrialization and urbanization. Adopting a reader-centered perspective, this essay explores the novel's publication history and readers' responses to its author's vision of cooperative households, sexual equality, and scientific breeding. The testimony of Hilda's Home readers confirms that novels did play an important role in transmitting nineteenth-century utopian visions to rural and working-class readers and that those readers recognized print culture's power as a tool for achieving social change.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 307-323
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.