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(1844-1924) US psychologist and author whose early acceptance of the theory of Evolution influenced his early studies in education and childhood development (see Psychology), which he interprets as a period of "Storm and Stress" within a rigorously defined arena: an only child (he claimed, for instance, obtusely) is "a disease in itself". His overall characterization of childhood as riven by conflicts with parents, mood disorders, and high-risk behaviour has seemed increasingly convincing, though his underlying genetic premises now seem rigid, and his compliant if vicarious advocacy of coercive applications of the principles of Eugenics, including sterilization of the "unfit", posthumously stained his reputation. He is also well known for having created the category of "adolescence" in American psychology.
Hall is of sf interest for a nearly book-length Utopia, "The Fall of Atlantis" in Recreations of a Psychologist (coll 1920), which recounts his trance vision of the visit of an Anthropologist in the year 2000 Under the Sea to the remains of Atlantis. Here he discovers evidences of a high-Technology utopia in regular contact with Mars. At its peak it had been justly governed by the Eugenic principles embodied in Creative Evolution, as interpreted by psychologists; and dedicated to the worship of "Mansoul", an aetherealized Superman not dissimilar to the figure cloudily addressed in Charles M Doughty's Mansoul (Or, the Riddle of the World) (1920). Sadly this peaceful domain had slowly declined into Dystopia through excessive individualism, the refusal of women to breed on order (see Feminism), and a loss of Religion. As this Decadence intensified, men began faute de mieux to breed with apes (see Apes as Human; Devolution), and slowly the great Island sank. [JC]
born Ashfield, Massachusetts: 1 February 1846
died Worcester, Massachusetts: 24 April 1924
works (highly selected)
Entry from The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (2011-current) edited by John Clute and David Langford.
Accessed 02:32 am on 12 August 2022.