University of Tasmania

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Arena : eternal vanguard of progress, 1889-1909

posted on 2023-05-26, 21:47 authored by Martin, John Winton
This thesis is about Arena, a journal of religion, reform and new fiction published in Boston and, for a time, New York between 1889 and 1909. The hypothesis of the study is that Arena kept alive the utopian and trancendentalist ideas of America's ante-bellum reformers. These were reinterpreted in the light of the new ideologies that developed after the Civil War - the Social Gospel, social Darwinism and the theories of utopia of Henry George and Edward Bellamy. Transcendentalism and utopianism were thus transformed providing Arena with . an ideology, part old and part new, with which to meet the challenges of a new industrial and urban age. The thesis is in six parts: an introductory chapter, four central chapters and a concluding one. The introduction, in addition to stating the argument of the thesis, contains a. critical review of the works of those who have already written studies of Arena. Two of these are unpublished theses from American universities. The only copies of these, in Australia, are held in the University of Tasmania Library. The central chapters of this study assume a knowledge of the thesis summaries provided in the introduction. The first of the central chapters examines Arena's nurturing of the growth of the new social Christianity, a Christianity based largely on transcendentalism, New Thought and the new Biblical Criticism. The chapter reveals how Arena's enthusiasm for practical Christianity was determined by a concern with reform - a concern with antecedents in the ante-bellum period Chapter two examines the fusion of social Christianity with the ideals of Henry George and Edward Bellamy - with the single tax and nationalism. This chapter also examines the application of Arena's new and many faceted ideology to the problems posed by America's urban poor, her post reconstruction negroes and her new immigrants. These particular reform agitations are selected because they touch most of Arena's concerns at some point. Arena's attitudes to the woman question is discussed in the third and longest chapter. Here there are sections on the suffrage, women in clubs, sexual attitudes to women, the purity crusade and the freer divorce agitation. The fourth chapter - shows how a concern for individualism -Arena's legacy from transcendentalism - was so transformed by the review that it was eventually capable of being portrayed as compatible with co-operative forms of government. This Chapter concerns Arena's search for its own political utopia. The conclusion reviews Arena's role as a muckraking magazine. It suggests that the review helped bridge the interval between ante-bellum reform and progressivism.


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  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1984. Bibliography: leaf 203-208

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