Fanshawe

Fanshawe - Nathaniel Hawthorne I can't imagine anyone today reading this were it not this was by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who'd later write such classics as The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables. Note, that came later. When he wrote this he was barely out of college, he published it anonymously, then later would try to destroy every copy in existence. I'm not sorry he didn't succeed. I can imagine this, his first novel, is a goldmine for scholars of American literature. And it's not really burn-worthy. I can see glimmers of the genius he'd later display in his novels and short stories. I first saw that in the confrontation between "the Angler" and Hugh Crombie: "Your good resolutions were always like cobwebs, and your evil habits like five-inch cables." Great line--and I can see some of the classic Hawthorne themes here concerning good and evil and redemption. But oh, the melodrama! And Ellen Langton is no Hester Prynne, but a rather dull, insipid, damsel-in-distress. There's also far too much tell, not show here--Hawthorne would get much, much better. I find I do enjoy even Jane Austen's Juvenalia--I think because she's my crack--there's something about her wit, her humor, that just tickles me. I think you need to feel about Hawthorne the way I do about Austen to really, really relish this novel and rate it highly. If for some weird reason this is your introduction to Hawthorne--please don't judge him by it. He would be appalled if you did. He's one of the true greats of American literature--but you wouldn't guess that on this basis. It took decades more of maturity to create The Scarlet Letter.