Academic journal article Nathaniel Hawthorne Review

Poems and Stories of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

Academic journal article Nathaniel Hawthorne Review

Poems and Stories of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

Article excerpt

Published Short Stories of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

In her Memories of Hawthorne (1897), Rose Hawthorne Lathrop recounts the circumstances of a parental injunction forbidding her to write stories and her reaction to it.

My father overheard some vainglorious boasts from my lips, one afternoon, when the windows of the little library where he sat were open; and the small girl who listened to me, wide-eyed, and I myself, proud and glad to have reached a thrilling denouement, were standing beside the sweet-clover bed, not dreaming of anything more severe than its white bloom. A few minutes afterwards, my father hung over me, dark as a prophetic flight of birds. 'Never let me hear of your writing stories!' he exclaimed, with as near an approach to anger as I had ever seen in him. 'I forbid you to write them!' But I believe this command only added a new attraction to authorship, agreeably haunting me as I beckoned imaginary scenes and souls out of chaos. (252, Dodo Press: Gloucester, GB, 6 July 2007)

Rose disobeyed the admonition, wrote, and published at least forty-five short stories while married to George Parsons Lathrop.

Her stories for children and adults of the Gilded Age reflect values and mores of post-Civil War American culture, giving Rose a significant position in American literary history as well as a distinguished place among nineteenth-century women writers. Without scholarly advantage of the formal education her male relatives received, Rose persevered in writing but wrote within the shadows of family writers and later under the criticism of her husband, a novelist and early Hawthorne scholar--author of A Study of Hawthorne (1876), editor (1883) of the Riverside works of Hawthorne, and later editor-in-chief of the Boston Courier (1877-1879).

I recovered short stories titles that, arranged in chronological order along with her poems, offer a framework of dates, works, and dry periods that correspond to events in her life--son's birth, trips, deaths, and marital separations. The chronology makes 1894 the end of Rose's fiction career, taking the reader to the turning point in her life when, in 1895, Rose left George, reevaluated her life, and entered nurses' training to live values she often described in her fiction.

After 1895 reality replaced imaginative prose as Rose wrote historical, autobiographical, and social non-fiction. With Memories of Hawthorne (1897), first published serially February through May as Some Memories of Hawthorne in the Atlantic Monthly (1896), Rose gained a place in scholarly American literature and Hawthorne criticism. From 1896 writing became an extension of her work with indigent cancer patients through essays, newspaper articles, letters to editors, and two publications. In 1899 Rose wrote the first of her Reports--summaries of expenses, statistics, and donations--since her work began in 1896; eight more followed until her death July 9, 1926. Rose also wrote, edited, and published a monthly report from August 1901--June1904 of twenty-one issues, similar to a journal, but which she called a monthly pamphlet (yearly subscription, fifty cents), Christ's Poor, that recorded work, expenditures and needs, thanked benefactors, encouraged virtuous giving, raised awareness about cancer, and often included historical accounts of her experiences with patients. When work increased, her periodicals became irregularly published but letters of appeal and gratitude continued. Her writings remain a testimony of her intrepid spirit.

Abbreviations for the three grids on Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's works

* Column three numbers after the journal title indicate volume, issue number, and pages respectively for each selection of the three chronologies.

** Electronic resources for periodical titles of poems and poetry of RHL

AM American Memory LOC: The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals

AP American Periodicals Series Online (subscription). …

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