Hawthorne's Early Narrative Art
|Author: ||Ponder, Melinda|
Focuses on transatlantic historical aesthetic debates which informed Hawthorne's literary and philosophical education at Bowdoin College as well as his subsequent self-designed program of reading at the Salem Athenaeum, showing the way in which Hawthorne's early conception of narrative art and the central importance of the narrative persona grew out of his education in the 18th-century Anglo-Scottish literary theorists. For scholars of Hawthorne, students of the American Renaissance and 18th-century British literature, and generalists who teach short stories.
". . . explores with conviction and clarity Hawthorne's evolving conception of narrative art in the context of eighteenth-century aesthetic theories to which he was demonstrably indebted. . . . I recommend the study as an important contribution to Hawthorne scholarship. Ponder not only shows us how Hawthorne came to his ideas about the writing of narrative; with a clear sense of purpose, she enhances our understanding of the unique function of the narrator in his tales and sketches. Ponder's Hawthorne is important in our time precisely because he was an artist in, and of, his own." - Terence Martin in The Nathaniel Hawthorne Review
". . . the strength of Ponder's method is the care with which she recovers eighteenth-century theory and relates it to specific narrative practices. She is far more concrete than William Charvat or Terence Martin in their earlier forays into this territory. The care bears fruit in her final chapter, where readings of tales like "The Gentle Boy," "Little Annie's Ramble," "Wakefield," and "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" open exactly those vistas for which Ponder has been preparing us." - James D. Wallace, in American Literature