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Hawthorne: English Men of Letters

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  57 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Published in 1879, this book is an insightful study of James' great predecessor, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Written by the prolific American-born author and literary critic of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He spent much of his life in Europe and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for novels, novellas and short stories based on them ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published April 20th 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 1879)
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John Pistelli
This short 1879 book is Henry James's critical biography of the man who would at the time have been considered his most distinguished precursor in American fiction, Nathaniel Hawthorne. James was early in his career and was moreover writing Hawthorne as the only entry on an American to appear in a series published in Britain on "English Men of Letters"; he is consequently forced to fight on two fronts throughout his text. On the one hand, he struggles to clear a space for himself in American let ...more
Richard Epstein
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
James on Hawthorne: who could ask for anything more. This is the book in which James famously explains what's missing from American life: "no sovereign, no court, no personal loyalty, no aristocracy, no church . . . no palaces, no castles, nor manors, nor old country-houses . . . nor thatched cottages nor ivied ruins; no cathedrals . . . no Oxford . . . no novels, no museums, no pictures, no political society, no sporting class . . . no Epsom nor Ascot."
Paul Jellinek
Aug 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written and brilliantly perceptive, Henry James's critical biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, written fairly early in James's career, gives us some invaluable insights into Hawthorne's work--and helps us to appreciate just how profoundly James's own writing (like Melville's) was influenced by the author of "The Scarlet Letter" and "The House of the Seven Gables." Left me with an even greater appreciation for both of these truly great American writers.
Mark Stephenson
Feb 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read The Scarlet Letter so early in life and (read no James until my college years) so it was interesting indeed to read this monograph on Hawthorne by James and utterly surprising to percieve how greatly indebted James was to this outstanding American author - especially obvious as I read The Blithedale Romance and began reading The Marble Faun. Very touching are James comments on the Civil War!
Vildan Arıcan
feeling the dizziness of James...you gonna have just a complicated theory of placin the works of Hawthorn...but I like it tough, when he tries very hard to justify the "dulness" of Nathaniel which I have never felt...at least what I felt is less than the emotion I got from the works of James, himself...
Caroline
Dec 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this - what could be better, one of my favorite authors writing sensitively about another?? James isn't just a fanboy, but he has a generous appreciation of Hawthorne's work. Nice to read after The Other Book that was so mean spirited.
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Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death. He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the ...more
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