01 December 2007

Archival Review: The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mass market paperback, 288 pages
Published 1971 (originally 1852)
Read November 2007
The Blithedale Romance
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

When I read Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter in high school, I hated it. So when the chance came to reread it in ENG 141 last fall, I eagerly passed it up and read Washington Irving's The Sketch Book instead. But I also read three of Hawthorne's short stories ("The Birth-Mark", "Rappacini's Daughter", and "Young Goodman Brown" (a re-read)), and enjoyed them. A lot. So I decided to give another Hawthorne novel a go, and this was the one I picked.

It was all right. Whatever the concentrated Hawthorne of the short stories did for me was not present here. I'm not turned off by his prose style to the extent I was in high school, but I do tend to glaze right over whole pages waiting for something to happen. It started promisingly enough, but halfway through I realized it just wasn't interesting me, as I didn't know exactly what was going on-- but didn't care either. So I finished it dutifully enough, but I already can scarcely tell you anything about but what happened in the book's second half. I'd still like to try some more of his short stories, though.

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