- 2 Hawthorne
A cornucopia of essays on The Scarlet Letter celebrates the 150th birthday of Hawthorne's novel as does a special issue of SAF that contains excellent contributions by T. Walter Herbert and Michael T. Gilmore. Larry J. Reynolds has finely edited A Historical Guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the chapter on The Blithedale Romance in Russ Castronovo's Necro Citizenship: Death, Eroticism, and the Public Sphere in the Nineteenth Century United States is a stimulating, well-documented interpretation of the novel and of American culture. His is historicism at its best. A number of essays plumb Hawthorne's work for racial undertones or peer behind Hawthorne's authorial mask, and while several critics write in-advertent biographical criticism, David T. Haberly wisely avoids the intentional fallacy when speculating about the Province-House legends. Attempting to excavate similar territory, ESQ presents a special double issue devoted to a topic trite and true, the friendship between Hawthorne and Melville.
i Editions and Bibliography
Although editions of The Scarlet Letter abound, Rita Gollin has concisely edited the new Riverside Edition (Houghton Mi.in) in a three-part format: pertinent primary source material and reprints of scholarly articles, all historically oriented; the novel itself; and a selection of early and recent responses to the novel ranging from Evert Duyckinck's to T. Walter Herbert's, each introduced by Gollin. Solid and sensible, the edition is geared for a high-school or introductory college market. Modern Library has also reissued The Scarlet Letter with a blithe introduction by Kathryn Harrison as well as a "Commentary" section that presents Hawthorne's own comments on the novel; a similar format is followed in its The House [End Page 27] of the Seven Gables, with an introduction by Mary Oliver. I wrote the afterword for The House of the Seven Gables anniversary edition (Signet), and the recent reissue of The Blithedale Romance (Modern Library) contains an inspirited introduction by John Updike, who recommends the novel to those "who wish to see the novelist's acute if diffident sensibility operating in relative freedom from his compulsive symbolism."
Though Hawthorne's novel Fanshawe has not been reissued recently, D. T. Stallings provides a list of extant first editions in "Fanshawe: A Revised List" (NHR 27, ii: 14–15) that updates previously published catalogues of Hawthorne's novel.
Todd Rozell provides an annotated listing of the Hawthorne scholarship published between 1990 and 2000 in his "Current Hawthorne Bibliography" (NHR 27, i: 56–84), which also includes several entries for items published before 1990 as well as a listing of bibliographies, reprints, some reviews, and dissertations. Sampling recent publications as well as some that appeared between 1996 and 2000, Richard M. Clark's comprehensive array of Hawthorne scholarship, "Current Bibliography" (NHR: 27, ii: 36–65), is far more extensive than bibliographies previously published in the NHR. And referring to the bibliography of women's scholarship on The Scarlet Letter in Jamie Barlowe's The Scarlet Mob of Scribblers (see AmLS 2000, pp. 30–32) Kimberly Free Muir-head warns readers to "Beware of Barlowe's Bibliographies!" (NHR 27, ii: 16–18). Barlowe's bibliography evidently contains many unreliable or bizarre entries that contain passing reference, if that, to Hawthorne's novel.
Despite the conscientiousness of the editors who gathered Hawthorne's correspondence for the Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, new letters still inevitably float to the surface, such as the one he wrote to David Roberts in 1861, as William T. La Moy reports in "An Unrecorded Letter Is Acquired by the Peabody Essex Museum" (NHR 27, ii: 12–13).
The intended purpose of the Historical Guides to American Authors (Oxford) is to produce an "interdisciplinary, historically sensitive series that combines close attention to the United States' most widely read and studied authors with a strong sense of time, place, and history." True to its mission, Larry J. Reynolds has expertly edited A Historical Guide to [End Page 28] Nathaniel Hawthorne to target readers unfamiliar with Hawthorne or his work and supply them with a sense of the milieu in which he wrote. In his introduction to the volume (pp. 3–12) Reynolds...