PASSAGES FROM THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE BOOKS NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY Wrtictjfi c prc Copyright, 1871, BY JAMES K. OSGOOD CO. Copyright, IKSIt, BY HOUGIITON, MIKFL1N CO, Copyright, 18t an l 15 13, BT KOSK HAWTHOENE LATHliOP. All riykts reserved. INTKODUCTORY NOTE. THE FRENCH ANT ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. WHEN The Marble Faun was first published, it attracted Amoiican readers, at least, almost as much, by its descriptions of Roman ruins and Italian land scape, by the delicate ...
PASSAGES FROM THE FRENCH AND ITALIAN NOTE BOOKS NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY Wrtictjfi c prc Copyright, 1871, BY JAMES K. OSGOOD CO. Copyright, IKSIt, BY HOUGIITON, MIKFL1N CO, Copyright, 18t an l 15 13, BT KOSK HAWTHOENE LATHliOP. All riykts reserved. INTKODUCTORY NOTE. THE FRENCH ANT ITALIAN NOTE-BOOKS. WHEN The Marble Faun was first published, it attracted Amoiican readers, at least, almost as much, by its descriptions of Roman ruins and Italian land scape, by the delicate and imaginative touch with which it reproduced or gave now meaning to famous works of antique and Renaissance art, as by the weird fascination of its plot and psychological problems. How the author was enabled to impart this additional charm to his work is explained by a perusal of his French and Italian Note-Books There the daily experience of his Italian sojourn, and the mute life of painting and sculpture as it stood to be reviewed by his eye, are set down precisely as they presented them selves to him at the time. Of France he saw but little, and the main portion of these journals is therefore devoted to Italy, where he remained from the end of January, 1858, until the middle of May, 1859. While he was in Kome the second time, his elder daughter, Una,, then about six teen years of age, had a severe attack of Roman fever, and his associations with the place were tinged with gloom. I bitterly detest Rome, he wrote to Mr. Fields and shall rejoice to bid it farewell forever and I 6 INTRODUCTORY NOTE. fully acquiesce in all the mischief an l ruin that haa happened to it, from Neros conflagration clown ward-In fact, 1 wish the very site had been obliterated be fore I saw it. But his stay in Florence and at the Villa Montauto had been a pleasurable one, and in part compensated him for the painful impressions left upon his mind by his . Roman experience. It will be noticed that ho continued to journalize steadily, however, through the vicissitudes of the residence in Koine although doubt less the entries are not so voluminous as they would have been but for the interruption of illness in his household, and for the fact that he had already begun to outline The Marble Faun. Notwithstanding an occasional dissatisfaction expressed in the Note-Books and, elsewhere, lie was very susceptible to the. peculiar spell of Italy, and gave himself up to the, poetic in fluences of its scenery and associations. Nor should it be supposed, as it has sometimes been done, be cause he made no pretension to the title of connois seur, and in one instance preferred, the work of an American painter named Thompson to many of the productions of the old masters, that he did not enter with deep sympathy into the beauty of the historic, art which surrounded him. He spent hours at a time, musing and observing, amid its treasures. One. who was near him recalls how slowly and thoughtfully he passed, one day, through, the gallery of the Capitol where the Faun of Praxiteles stands, his own strong figure imbued with a grace and pensiveness that seemed to give it a brotherhood with the ideal shapes, sprung from the perfection of Greek sculpture, whict he was contemplating. So far did Hawthorne cany his habit of making INTRODUCTORY NOTE. 7 memoranda, that lie kept a pocket - diary while in Koine, in which were recorded the ordinary transac tions of each day. This lie may have used for ref erence when writing the more elaborate accounts of what was worth remembering. These last were en tered in ordinary thin blank-books with flexible cov ers. The books are filled with consecutive entries, written almost without the interruption of a single erasure or change of word and, substantially, the whole of the contents appear in the printed volumes. The, u French and Italian Note-Books were tran scribed for publication by Mrs, Hawthorne, at London, in the winter of 1870-71, and appeared in the follow ing autumn, after her death...
"Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them," Nathaniel Hawthorne once reflected. Hawthorne's own words indeed had an undeniable power. Author of The Scarlet Letter and originator of the American short story, Hawthorne left an indelible impression on literature that would influence his fellow writers into the next century.
Nathaniel Hathorne, Jr., was born into an established New England puritan family on Independence Day, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. After the sudden death of his father, he and his mother and sisters moved in with his mother's family in Salem. Nathaniel's early education was informal; he was home-schooled by tutors until he enrolled in Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
Uninterested in conventional professions such as law, medicine, or the ministry, Nathaniel chose instead to rely "for support upon my pen." After graduation, he returned to his hometown, wrote short stories and sketches, and chanced the spelling of his surname to "Hawthorne." Hawthorne's coterie consisted of transcendentalist thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Although he did not subscribe entirely to the group's philosophy, he lived for six months at Brook Farm, a cooperative living community the transcendentalists established in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.
On July 9, 1942, Hawthorne married a follower of Emerson, Sophia Peabody, with whom he had a daughter, Una, and a son, Julian. The couple purchased a mansion in Concord, Massachusetts, that previously had been occupied by author Louisa May Alcott. Frequently in financial difficulty, Hawthorne worked at the custom houses in Salem and Boston to support his family and his writing. His peaceful life was interrupted when his college friend, Franklin Pierce, now president of the United States, appointed him U.S. consul at Liverpool, England, where he served for four years.
The publication of The Scarlet Letter in 1850 changed the way society viewed Puritanism. Considered his masterpiece, the novel focuses on Hawthorne's recurrent themes of sin, guilt, and punishment. Some critics have attributed his sense of guilt to his ancestors' connection with the persecution of Quakers in seventeenth-century New England and their prominent role in the Salem witchcraft trials in the 1690s.
On May 19, 1864, Hawthorne died in Plymouth, New Hampshire, leaving behind several unfinished novels that were published posthumously. He is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.
Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter.
Good To Know
Hawthorne's birth name was actually Nathaniel Hathorne. It's rumored that he added a "w" to avoid being associated with his Puritan grandfather, Judge Hathorne -- who presided over the Salem Witch Trials.
Among Hawthorne's peers at Maine's Bowdoin College: author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, who would later become the country's 14th president.
In its first week of publication,The Scarlet Letter sold 4,000 copies.
Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, at the Pemigewasset House in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Ironically, former president Franklin Pierce had advised him to go there for his health.