Bryant, Rachel, Nathaniel Hawthorne Review
Drislane, Liamog Seamus. "Current Bibliography." Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 36.2 (2010): 121-133.
Smith, Andrew M., and Elizabeth J. Wright. "Hawthorne." American Literary Scholarship: An Annual, 2009. Ed. Gary Scharnhorst. Durham, N.C.: Duke UP, 2011. 31-44.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Blithedale Romance. Ed. Richard H. Millington. New York: Norton, 2010.
This new Norton Critical Edition reproduces the authoritative text of The Blithedale Romance from the Centenary Edition ofthe Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Millington's annotations unpack historical and literary references throughout the text, and in his introduction, he discusses the way that early responses to the novel continue to inspire innovative critical readings. Assembled secondary materials are extensive and include texts related to Hawthorne's life at Brook Farm--such as journal entries and letters written to his wife Sophia--and a selection of essays that contextualize the social and political issues informing the work: mesmerism, "the woman question," and more. The criticism section is divided into three parts. "Contemporary Responses" contains some early reactions to the novel, penned by writers like Herman Melville and James T. Fields, which, as Millington notes in his introduction, continue to hold influence today. "Classic Studies" includes landmark essays by writers such as Henry James, D.H. Lawrence, and Irving Howe. Finally, in "Recent Criticism," important essays by Nina Baym, Richard H. Millington, Joel Pfister, and Robert S. Levine address topics such as passion and oppression, selfhood and culture, narrative feminization, and sympathy and reform. The volume contains a chronology and a selected bibliography.
Chapters in Books
Greiman, Jennifer. "The Spectacle of Reform: Theater and Prison in Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance." Democracy's Spectacle: Sovereignty and Public Life in Antebellum American Writing. New York: Fordham UP, 2010. 157-191.
Greiman draws out complex issues of spectatorship and imprisonment in The Blithedale Romance and highlights some of the specific social and political concerns that inform Hawthorne's text. She interrogates the relationship between the aesthetic and the historical by locating the novel within an antebellum tradition in which scenes of "sentiment and violence, terror and pleasure" (157) are publicly and simultaneously staged within communities. While the characters of Hawthorne's novel imagine themselves to be insulated against the monotony of convention, their society in many ways "replicates" antebellum norms; in this context, Greiman introduces the concept of "mimetic reform" through which the "members" of a society "seek to influence and alter each other while serving as an example to the world outside" (159).
Hughes, Robert. "Endings: Ethics, Enigma, and Address in The Marble Faun." Ethics, Aesthetics, and the Beyond of Language. Albany: SUNY P, 2010. 137-158.
Hughes reads Hawthorne's final romance as his most explicit engagement with issues of human morality. In his preface to The Marble Faun, Hawthorne draws readers' attention to entangled issues of "death, the unknowable, and the problem of address" (139), and Hughes argues that the play of these "morally overwhelming" (145) issues opens up a space in which issues of ethical responsibility intersect and resist closure. In his treatment of these issues, Hawthorne gestures towards the profound unanswerability of certain moral questions, and he thus "suspend[s] the reader on the verge of an epistemological abyss" (139). The novel, then, encapsulates the "experience of dwelling with the tension of an untold mystery" (154); Hughes explores the uneasy way in which Hawthorne ultimately "yields" to the expectations of his readers by resolving some tension in the final pages of the novel, but he goes on to assert that there is very little satisfaction to be drawn from this conclusion. …