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Studies in American Fiction227 Berkeley) in which, dictating to his new secretary Isabel Lyon on November 26, 1902, Clemens acknowledges that he has consciously and deliberately suppressed his true feelings about a pessimistic and deterministic universe for thirty years. The reason for the self-censorship: his wife insisted that he refrain from publishing such material. Again, on p. 156, Cardwell examines a passage from A Tramp Abroad, debating with both himself and John Seelye (in Mark Twain in the Movies, New York: Viking Press, 1977) whether Twain's description of a nude German girl bathing at the edge of the Neckar River is an early manifestation of his later obsession with young prenubile girls. Cardwell concludes that the passage does not bear the weight Seelye imposed on it; but in fact the original holograph manuscript page contains and then deletes the telling information that the young girl was of the talismanic age, about fifteen. Both the specification and its removal are provoking. The first two volumes of Mark Twain's Letters (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1988 and 1990) contain new information about Clemens' sexual status before he married Olivia Langdon. In 1862, he confessed to his sister-in-law that "I don't mind sleeping with female servants as long as I am a bachelor—by no means—but after 1 marry, that sort of thing will be 'played out' " (1 : 145). And in 1868, he wrote several letters to Frank Fuller, making jokes about buying condoms from Fuller because "I can supply the odor myself" (2:240, 254). And finally, one wonders how recent hints about Susy Clemens' lesbianism (in Charles Neider, ed., Papa, An Intimate Biography of Mark Twain, Garden City: Doubleday, 1985, pp. 14—29) might cast shadows backward to her childhood and her relationship with her father. At the end, if this portrait is correct, we need now express sufficient amazement at the genius with which Clemens managed to transcend his faults to produce the legacy of his major literature. Texas A &c M UniversityHamlin Hill Stern, Milton R. Contexts for Hawthorne: The Marble Faun and the Politics of Openness and Closure in American Literature. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 1991. 256 pp. Cloth: $34.95. Identifying the openness of possibility and the closure of restraint as "organic analogues for Romanticism and Classicism," Stern begins his study of Hawthorne by explaining that his terms do not designate particular historical periods but mark out "contending directions of human perspective and historical force in any era"· (p. 9). However, this dialectic—in both its literary and cultural formations—has a special relevance to America and Hawthorne because of the centrality of the visionary and the millennial in America's self-conception. Accordingly, Stern seeks to place Hawthorne within the dialectical politics of what he calls the two Americas: the America of material fact, of ideology, and the America of the mind, of utopia, which itself is composed of the tension between classicist closure and romantic openness. Although this terminology becomes rather slippery (for example, closure at times is an alternative to openness in the visionary dialectic and at others a feature of both poles in the opposition between ideology and utopia), Stern's major premise is that Hawthorne began his career when romantic, revolutionary vision had hardened into a conservative ideology that identified America as the good society of material growth, which writers needed to celebrate or risk being labeled un-American. While Hawthorne's 228Reviews conservative utopianism enabled him to see a gap between the culture's romantic vision and the actualities of America, he was drawn to the promise of success in a literary marketplace dominated by the ideology of closure and by conformity. In a culture where literary dissent detracted from the masculine task of giving material form to a Utopian vision of American success, the radical artist seemed unmanly. This was unacceptable to Hawthorne, whose "hot literary ambitions" and conservative Utopian vision of the good polis made him dread the isolation of the artist as effete iconoclast even as he was attracted to the romantic view of art as an independent pursuit. Hawthorne's career was thus marked by a culturally induced tension among Utopian...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-5806
Print ISSN
0091-8083
Pages
pp. 227-228
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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