Hawthorne as Editor: Selections from His Writings in the American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge

By Arlin Turner; Nathaniel Hawthorne | Go to book overview

Preface

The purpose of this volume is to make available the most significant of Hawthorne's writings for The American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge during his six months as editor. Only five of the articles, I believe, have been reprinted heretofore. In the choice of selections for this book, the plan has been to include those essays and briefer items which have some intrinsic merit or throw light on what Hawthorne was reading and thinking; also those reflecting his interest in the world about him or bearing some relation to his other writings. The task of distinguishing the articles written by Hawthorne from those by his sister Elizabeth has proved less difficult than was first expected. The chief guide has been internal evidence, since Elizabeth signed none of her contributions; but Hawthorne's letters have supplied a few clues. In the biographical sketch of Alexander Hamilton, in which both had a hand, there are several apparent differences in style and method that seem dependable enough as criteria for fixing the authorship of the other pieces. Except for a few of the very short notes, only selections with recognizable Hawthornesque qualities have been included. But it must be admitted that some of the articles reprinted here may have come mainly from the pen of Elizabeth; if such is true, though, it seems that Hawthorne added something to each, perhaps a moral or a generalization, which brands it as at least partially his own.

It is a pleasure to express here my thanks to Professor Randall Stewart for looking over the manuscript of this volume and giving me the benefit of his judgment. He and Professors Manning Hawthorne and Norman Holmes Pearson have given me access to their

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