The first literary/biographical study of Hawthorne's full career in almost forty years, Hawthorne's Habitations presents a self-divided man and writer strongly attracted to reality for its own sake and remarkably adept at rendering it yet fearful of the nothingness he intuited at its heart.
We will walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds. --Ralph Waldo Emerson, ""The American Scholar,"" 1837 From the start of transcendentalism and America's intellectual renaissance in the 1830s, to the Civil War and beyond, the story of four extraordinary friends whose lives shaped a nation.
Handsome, reserved, almost frighteningly aloof until he was approached, then playful, cordial, Nathaniel Hawthorne was as mercurial and double-edged as his writing. “Deep as Dante,” Herman Melville said. Hawthorne himself declared that he was not “one of those supremely hospitable people who serve up their own hearts, delicately fried, with brain sauce, as a tidbit” for the public.