Brady, Patrick (1987) Hawthorne's uses of history: a study of the major fiction, with special reference to the unfinished romances. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

the thesis is concerned to establish the importance of works that, for the main part, have been ignored. Although the neglect or misconception of Hawthorne's historical perspective has led to some questionable judgements of his completed works, perhaps the most damaging consequence of this has been to ratify the non-reading along with the mistaken readings of the unfinished material. The romance perspective adopted by much Hawthorne scholarship has by and large avoided its own theoretical assumptions, consequently misreadings of the finished works have been compounded in those rare attempts to deal with the unfinished material.
Freed from too enervating a Romance critique, Hawthorne's operations in the later works reveal a remarkab;e and sustained literary practice. The 'incherent' and 'fragmentary' are, arguably, evidence of a vigorous intelligence continuing in its analysis of the interests of a lifetime. Providential nationalism, the New Nation thesis, the sentimentalisation of Englandas 'home' - all aspects of early Nineteenth Century american thought - are read by Hawthorne as symptoms of a nationally indulged misrecognition of American history. Troubled by linear and progressive accounts of the rise of the American state, Hawthorne struggles with what they leave out. Examples of omission include the dispossession of the indigenous peoples, the enforced social inferiority of women and the persistence of pernicious property laws. Previous studies of Hawthorne have failed to recognise his interpolation of such disruptive material - material that severly damages progressive historiography. A substantial part of the thesis is designed to show how valuable a perspective this is in understanding the complex historical process against which Hawthorne sets the inter-twining histories of England and America.
The thesis conclues by offering an alternative reading of the last works which does justice to the persistence of Hawthorne's interest in subversive historical concerns and to the specific developments he achieved in his later treatment of them.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: For access to the hard copy thesis, check the University Library catalogue.
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Contributors: Swann, Charles (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2020 12:12
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2020 12:12
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/7637

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