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  • Hawthorne
  • Karen Roggenkamp

This year's scholarly output brings significant contributions to two key areas of Nathaniel Hawthorne studies. Genealogies of literary influence prove a solid research interest, with several publications, including a special issue of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review (42, i) edited by David Greven, that unpack the web of interactions and reactions between Hawthorne and his literary predecessors and successors, from John Milton and Edmund Spenser to Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Philip Roth. Pedagogical concerns also form a central topic, particularly in an impressive essay collection that gathers diverse ideas for teaching Hawthorne's works at the college level.

i General

In addition to a brief article detailing his treatment of Hawthorne's fiction and Ralph Waldo Emerson's essays in a course on the American Civil War, "Contradictions and Ambivalence: Emerson, Hawthorne, and the Antebellum Origins of Civil War Literature," pp. 23–32 in Colleen Glenney Boggs, ed., Teaching the Literatures of the American Civil War (MLA), Larry J. Reynolds also supplies the preface (pp. ix–xi) for Christopher Diller and Samuel Coale, eds., Nathaniel Hawthorne in the College Classroom (AMS Press), an essay collection that aims to go "beyond traditional and formalist approaches" to teaching Hawthorne's work. The 25 essays in the volume, as Reynolds explains, "comprise a welcome aid" to educators in search of "innovative ways to engage, [End Page 23] instruct, and inspire" college students. The essays are organized into four parts. The first, "Romances," offers fresh strategies for teaching Hawthorne's longer works. It includes Sarah Wadsworth's "Approaching The Blithedale Romance Through the History of the Book" (pp. 37–49), which details how her students engage directly with artifacts of 1850s authorship, reading, and publishing for an enriched reading of that novel, and Zachary Lamm's "Teaching Hawthorne's Romances and/in the History of American Sexuality" (pp. 51–61), which discusses the value of examining documents dealing with antebellum norms for gender and sexuality as guidance for understanding Hawthorne's concept of "normality." Part 2, "The Short Stories," includes essays considering among other topics Hawthorne's engagement with religion and the "recovery of the mesmeric power of the veil" in a history-of-ideas survey course (Rosemary Mims Fisk, "The 'Minister's Black Veil' and Islam in the Core Curriculum," pp. 77–56) and the deployment of an "eco-Gothic" model to direct classes toward appreciating "the scope of American environmental literature" (Jennifer Schell, "The Eco-Gothic in the Short Fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne," pp. 107–20). Part 3, "Institutional and International Contexts," foregrounds the topic by situating Hawthorne in community colleges (Chikako D. Kumamoto, "The Scarlet Letter in a Community College Composition Course," pp. 173–83), senior capstone classes (Donald Ross, "Hawthorne and the Brontës: A Transatlantic Senior Capstone Course," pp. 211–20), and study-abroad programs (Sandra Hughes, "Studying Hawthorne Abroad: The Italian Writings and Their Contexts," pp. 221–32). The essays in Part 4, "Performative and Visual Contexts," include Sari Altschuler's "Reading Disability in Hawthorne: Enabling Student Analyses of The Scarlet Letter" (pp. 235–45), which questions how instructors might teach Hawthorne's novel "while remaining sensitive to disabled students" and how Hawthorne "troubles a collapsed reading of mind and body," and Alberto Gabriele's "Pre-Cinema in The House of the Seven Gables" (pp. 259–77), which limns an "array of pre-cinematic spectacles" in Hawthorne's 1851 novel, a "complex system of textual and visual synergies" that speaks to "the limits and possibilities of nineteenth-century mimesis." Moving forward in time and technology, Elisabeth Herion Sarafidis and Danuta Fjellestad's "Teaching Gender Dynamics in The Scarlet Letter Through Film Adaptations" (pp. 305–19) illustrates the use of 20th-century cinematic adaptations of The Scarlet Letter by teachers in European institutions to highlight gender presentation in Hawthorne's [End Page 24] novel. Nathaniel Hawthorne in the College Classroom widens the scope of Hawthornian pedagogy within higher education and provides a welcome addition to earlier articles about classroom strategies and student engagement.

Larry Reynolds's "Transatlantic Visions and Revisions of Race: Hawthorne, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, and the Editing of Journal of an African Cruiser" (NHR 42, ii: 1–21) excavates Hawthorne's work on The Journal...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2125
Print ISSN
0065-9142
Pages
pp. 23-32
Launched on MUSE
2018-10-04
Open Access
No
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