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The Office of the Scarlet Letter
"Goes a long way to proving that any literary masterpiece, read with sympathy and intelligence, works to re-establish the connections between the work of art and the life and thought of its time." -- James R. Mellow, "Times Literary Supplement"
Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Johns Hopkins University Press
(first published June 1st 1991)
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This is valuable, especially in the early sections. Unfortunately, the promise that it shows never delivers fully because Bercovitch loses the political focus that would have clarified the novel more fully by indulging in quasi-philosophical and metatheoretic excrescences. The first three chapters contain the heart of the analysis. Chapter four and the Postscript are an unnecessary digression that prevents a full and proper conclusion from being reached and leaves a muddier interpretation than ...more