Academic journal article Nathaniel Hawthorne Review

From the Editor's Gable

Academic journal article Nathaniel Hawthorne Review

From the Editor's Gable

Article excerpt

The image of Sophia Hawthorne as an artist in her own right has emerged, in no small part, due to feminist criticism which has brought to light many neglected women authors over the course of the last thirty years. Sophia might have had to struggle a little harder than others, who were not eclipsed by an illustrious husband. Critics along the way have sought to malign her, but the essays in this volume establish her reputation firmly as they attest to her diverse creative talents--as editor, as original thinker, as correspondent, as author, as artist, as art critic, and as travel writer. Not the traditionally fragile Sophia but a feisty, energetic, independent, outspoken, and sometimes daring woman emerges on the pages that follow.

I think that Margaret Fuller was correct in assessing the promise of Nathaniel and Sophia as a creative couple, with temperaments well suited to one another, when she predicted success for the couple on the eve of their marriage. In a letter dated 4 June 1842, Fuller exclaims with her usual dramatic aplomb that Sophia will thrive, for the love Sophia shares with Nathaniel "is wise and pure and religious." She envisions mutual happiness for the young couple based on their heartfelt affection, "the common destiny of [their] two souls," and their "intellectual friendship." (1) Several contributors in this special issue would agree with Fuller's prediction as they view the Hawthorne union as a source of artistic inspiration to both partners on their life's journey.

I am indebted to Julie Hall for agreeing to take on the guest editorship of this special issue when I approached her with the possibility several years ago. …

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