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Fall 2001

Course Description:

Its splendid halls and suites of spacious apartments are floored with a mosaic-work of costly marbles; its windows, the whole height of  each room, admit the sunshine through. . . . Ah! but in some low and obscure nook--some narrow closet on the ground floor, shut, locked  and bolted, and the key flung away--or beneath the marble pavement,  in a stagnant water-puddle . . . may lie a corpse, half-decayed and still decaying, and diffusing its death scent all through the palace!

--Hawthorne (1851)

The home ought not to be open to the casual eye, or the secrets of it liable to the prying or the propinquity of neighbors . . . How much greater the harm which comes from always living near to others so exposed front and rear, and both sides, that inevitably, in spite of you, the daily life . . . . is subject to influences you would gladly be rid of. 

--John F. Ware (1864)

        In this seminar we will read the works of Nathaniel Hawthorne: novels; stories; sketches; letters; and journals. Our reading of Hawthorne will be guided by an exploration of the American romance and the ways in which it branches away from the nineteenth-century novel over the issue of the right to privacy: an anxiety over the potential intrusiveness of fiction and a desire to shield the domestic interior from governmental and societal policy dictate the very form of the Hawthornian romance, endowing it with its distinctive ambiguity and imaginative latitude.
        Readings include selected short stories, The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance, The House of the Seven Gables, and The Marble Faun.

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