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The Marble Faun - The Original Classic Edition

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  2,214 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews
The Marble Faun - The Original Classic Edition
ebook, 254 pages
Published October 24th 2012 by Emereo Publishing (first published 1860)
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I've just, finally, finished reading "The Marble Faun" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and I now have some conception of what it feels like to have run a marathon dressed in full deep-sea diving gear. Zeus, what a tedious, turgid, overblown book. I chose it because it was listed in a book called "1001 books to read before you die" - but perhaps I misread the title and it was actually "1001 books that are only marginally better than actually being dead".

The style is thick and clotted, the plot lacking in
I loved this slow summer sojourn – a classic novel that unfolded gradually and beautifully. The Marble Faun is full of rich, atmospheric description that transports the reader instantly into the streets, the churches, the galleries, and the classical architecture of 19th-century Rome. Hawthorne is a masterful writer indeed. What could be more wholly Italian than a full paragraph devoted to a single sip of wine?

“Sipping, the guest longed to sip again; but the wine demanded so deliberate a pause,
Nimue Brown
Jan 10, 2013 Nimue Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Marble Faun is a gothic romance from the period when ‘romance’ meant ‘not as serious as a proper novel’. It’s a strange, moody tale with a lot of loose ends and uncertainty, which I think many modern readers would find difficult. However, I know I’m not the only one who enjoys that sort of thing.

It wasn’t written with an eye to posterity, which means a lot of checking foot notes is called for (get an edition with footnotes if you can, some commentary is helpful) as Hawthorn assumes you’ll ge
Jun 06, 2011 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family lived for several years in Italy, and his experiences there inspired him to write The Marble Faun, or the Romance of Monte Beni. Published in 1860, it became his best selling novel, but few readers today have ever heard of it, much less read it. The book opens in 19th century Rome, where a group of friends, three American artistic types and one Italian, are enjoying an idyllic summer in each other's company. Donatello is a young Italian count, who very much res ...more
Jun 02, 2009 Dusty rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dusty by: My 11th grade English textbook
Shelves: read-in-2009
In middle school you were probably assigned some kind of descriptive composition. You know, the kind where you pick a Classroom Object -- a pencil, a wad of gum, your English teacher's unconvincing toupee -- and you write about it for a couple hundred words, sparing no meticulous detail. You turn the composition in to your teacher, who underlines words that could be even more thoroughly expounded. Maybe you are told you need to incorporate all five senses: How does this Object smell? may have be ...more
Aug 14, 2008 Mireya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing travel companion when visiting Rome!
Jan 29, 2016 Myles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, the-list, c19th
Thank you Little Edie, I never would have picked this if it hadn't been for you.

The Marble Faun follows three expatriate artists and their Italian friend Donatello living in Rome in the mid 19th century. Hilda is sweet-natured and devout, literally living above the city in a tower room and, though Protestant, maintains a shrine to the Virgin Mary as part of her rent. Kenyon is a promising sculptor in love with Hilda, but gently refused. Miriam is a dark haired beauty whose origins are mystery an
Oct 14, 2011 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-drama
Zounds, what a boring book! And I usually like Hawthorne, but... Perhaps only a brilliant writer could craft a novel this dull and unsatisfying. Page after page of monotonous, pretentious pontificating ensue, as characters stand around doing nothing except complementing each other on their brilliance and/or beauty, or complaining endlessly about things that most normal people generally take in stride. All the intriguing aspects of the story are left unexplained in the end (except in a silly post ...more
Jan 21, 2013 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually read this back in college, and loved it then. I still really like it, and enjoyed rereading it and following the mysteries of Miriam's and Donatello's pasts. This time, I was on a deadline and was not able to appreciate the long descriptive passages as I did the first time. It takes some imagination, but you can really begin to share the mindset of someone for whom reading was far more of a gateway to foreign places than it is today.

It was something of a shock to see how anti-Catholi
Nov 11, 2009 Bryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first came to Hawthorne through 'The Scarlet Letter' but this is undoubtedly my favourite of his. While most of his stories are set in America, this one follows a group of arty, bohemian types in Europe, sas they struggle along, fall in love with each other and generally get into difficulty. It's got a fabulously gothic sort of atmosphere, there's mystery, dark histories and a supernatural possibility that I loved. (Won't say to much, no spoilers). It's a gorgeous, darkly romantic and strange ...more
Vol. I: Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Vol. II: Free download available at Project Gutenberg.
Dec 12, 2015 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Laura
12 DEC 2015 - spied on Laura's updates. Free download/s at Project Gutenberg:

Volume 1 -

Volume 2 -
Mar 06, 2013 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
The Marble Faun was a delightful read. Hawthorne's last published novel finds him at the zenith of his skill as a writer. One can tell that this is Hawthorne honed by decades of refining his craft. He is able to communicate with depth, and yet with a clarity that does not imprison you in a mire of verbose minutiae. Compare this with the dry reading of his collegiate venture, Fanshawe (which he later disowned), and his maturing process as a writer is clear. Having read the ponderous, solemn works ...more
I really like Hawthorne’s writing. He wrote two of my favorite works. But for me, The Marble Faun is missing something.

The good: Hawthorne makes some really good insights here...exposing the irony of art and situation...what might really go on behind the scenes when creating a piece of art or sculpture, and how this might affect one’s perceptions and reception of the art, especially if the piece of art has a religious theme. Also interesting is his portrayal of the loss of innocence and its effe
Jul 20, 2015 Stuart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nathaniel Hawthorne's MARBLE FAUN is, depending on who you ask, either a masterpiece or an interesting failure, but regardless of which view you take, it is an undeniably unique novel. Though it can be terribly slow at times, there are also excellent extended passages of breathtaking beauty, precise and poignant observations about the human condition, and more than one plot twist that keeps you interested. If you can learn to appreciate the digressions onto the the beauty and culture of Italy, a ...more
Narcisse Navarre
I came across this book by accident really. This book is one of Hawthorne's lesser known works–a romance that received a lukewarm reception at the time of publication for its colloquial, quirky style of addressing the reader directly and breaking that invisible line of narrator and reader. After reading, I have returned tot his book many times. Hawthorne's language is nothing short of spectacular in my opinion. His characters are real and shine with an inner beauty that only a great writer can i ...more
Aug 13, 2009 Tamara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne has a very poetic love language and a lot of renaissance visuals in this book. I love where I go when I read the pages.(And having spent some time in Italy allows this book to be a lovely escape from my now hectic world.)
Jason Reeser
Mar 25, 2013 Jason Reeser rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book. I was captivated by it immediately. Far better than Hawthorne's "Gables" or "Scarlet Letter". I never understand why no one ever mentions this book.
Jul 05, 2014 Edward rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne's last completed novel, based on the year and a half he spent in Italy, is sporadically interesting, but it is never going to displace THE SCARLET LETTER as his masterpiece. Everyone has read, or is at least familiar with the story of Hester Prynne the Puritan woman, castigated for her sin of adultery by having to wear a scarlet letter A on her breast. The weight of "sin", as defined by a society, and the psychological implications of living in that society are explored in that novel. ...more
Jun 05, 2016 Arukiyomi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
This was a grind. I really don’t have much time for Hawthorne and this was a bad Hawthorne.

On the surface, this is about a group of USAnian young people who spend time in Italy doing everything but being realistic. Their wealth obviously enables them to avoid the banalaties that the rest of us have to deal with, like cooking, cleaning, and generally earning a living. Thus, they can afford to prance around in art galleries, pursue their belief that the art they do is important somehow and, unfort
[These notes were made in 1983:]. I found this a very pleasant read, and with more substance than I anticipated from a preliminary brush through the first chapters. It was written in Italy, and abounds in that luxurious description of old artworks and older buildings which seems to overtake so many visitors to that country. In Hawthorne's case, it's done well, and linked in to the themes of the story. The old preoccupations - the effect of hidden sin - are all there, as the method of suggesting ...more
Jun 18, 2013 Ian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
Donatello is an Italian count of a juvenile nature and a striking resemblance to a mythical faun captured in marble. He is in love with Miriam, a gifted painter, but a girl with a dark secret. In Rome they enjoy the company of two New Englanders - Kenyon, a sculptor who is in love with the other, Hilda, a talented copyist and as pure as the Virgin. A rash, murderous act changes all their lives.
A slight plot is fleshed out with anti-Catholic rhetoric, musings on the relative merits of two- and th
Mad monks and marble skulls. Ruined castles and rustic revels. I love gothic horror and romance but this one barely makes the grade. Dealing with familiar Hawthorian themes of sin and redemption The Marble Faun is set in Rome and it's environs and concerns itself with a smart set of young artists visiting from New England. The author doesn't seem to think very highly of Catholics or the Italian "race" in general including the group's handsome young mascot, Donatello. The language is beautiful bu ...more
The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne was a daunting read for my American Romanticism class. The chapters are weighty, long, and descriptive - especially when reading an average of 50+ pages every other day over the course of a week or two. All the same, I greatly enjoyed this novel. I loved the ambiguity of the book - the mysterious concerning Miriam's past as well as being introduced to the alluring Italian Donatello, the sculptor Kenyon, and the innocent, angelic Hilda as they journey throug ...more
Much like any work of art, this piece has multiple dimensions, some clear and defined, others less so, shrouded in mystery and dense, close, darkness, clouds of shadows encircling stumbles and mumbles of stone mingled with earthy patches of organic sensibility. Hawthorne wanders through this narrative with obviously symbolic characters, interspersed with malingering discourses on art and the influence of grave errors on the soul. His writing is sublime and efficient, but not spartan. The entire ...more
Nov 30, 2014 Kristi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fellowship of three young bohemian artists in Rome and a young Italian,takes a fateful turn when a dark secret creates guilt and sorry that challenges their relationships. Distinctive as Hawthorne's "international novel," this mystery draws on the author's personal experiences, as well as the romance of tourism, to ask tantalizing questions about human nature, the value of culture, and the consequences of impulse.
Mar 13, 2009 Brenna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this because of the American-artists-in-Italy kick that I've been on, which stemmed from some research I am doing at work. It was particularly interesting from that perspective--what Italy represented for American artists of a certain era. I'm moving on to some Mark Twain and Henry James that deal with similar issues, and I'm interested to see how they compare.
Tiffany McIver
Jul 18, 2008 Tiffany McIver rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"'You cannot conceive how this fantasy takes hold of me,' responded Miriam, between jest and earnest. 'Imagine, now a real being, similar to this mythic Faunò how happy, how genial, how satisfactory would be his life...I suppose the Faun had no conscience, no remorse, no burthen on the heart, no troublesome recollections of any sort; no dark future neither!'"
Troy Storm
Mar 27, 2013 Troy Storm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Marble Faun holds a special place in my literary heart since it was one of the books I had to read in school. It was a revelation at the time, stunning me with the power of words to put us into new and strange worlds. Later readings have proven it to be a bit exotic for my present taste, but as a cornerstone of the works of one of our great writers it's more than worth a visit.
Nov 09, 2007 Meritt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am very fond of Hawthorne's novels. This book made me really happy when I read it for a class. The professor pretty much told us that we would not like it because nothing happens. For me it was a page turner. Very mysterious and exciting nothing.
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T
More about Nathaniel Hawthorne...

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“A forced smile is uglier than a frown.” 10 likes
“Nobody, I think, ought to read poetry, or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed.” 3 likes
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