Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Blithedale Romance. Nathaniel Hawthorne (6).

1852. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1983. (6)

Why read it? Early feminist novel. The obsessive nature of reformers.

“I gave her [Priscilla’s] hand a pressure, which, I think, she neither resisted nor returned.” p. 757. ………. Zenobia to Coverdale:”It is dangerous, Sir, believe me, to tamper thus with earnest human passions, out of your own mere idleness, and for your sport.” p. 780. ………. “One always feels the fact, in an instant, when he has intruded on those who love, or those who hate, at some acme of their passion….” p. 818. ………. “…I saw in Hollingsworth all that an artist could desire for the grim portrait of a Puritan magistrate, holding inquest of life and death in a case of witchcraft.” p. 819. ………. “There are no new truths , much as we have prided ourselves on finding some.” p. 827. ………. “…that the whole universe, her own sex and yours, and Providence, or Destiny, to boot, make a common cause against the woman who swerves one hair’s breadth off the beaten track.” p. 827. ………. Silas Foster: “Heigh-ho….well—life and death together make sad work for us all. p. 834.

The End.

The Blithedale Romance, (novel) by Nathaniel Hawthorne, written in 1852. Why read it? It is an early example of feminist literature, in which a sweet, pretty, helpless, young thing captures men’s hearts and intelligent females scare men away. It is also about the obsessive nature of reformers, not unlike today’s “do-gooders,” the health police who proscribe sugar in sodas, smoking and smokers, and obesity. It takes place in Blithedale, a Utopian community, modeled on Brook Farm, the Transcendentalist experiment at West Roxbury, Massachusetts, in which Hawthorne had participated ten years before he wrote the novel.

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