The Blithedale Romance (Bedford Cultural Edition) / Edition 1

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Overview

This teaching edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance reprints the Century Edition of the novel and includes a generous selection of historical materials. The documents are organized into thematic units on social reform, ninteteeth-century American utopian communities, Brook Farm, and gender relations, and include relevant excerpts from letters, diaries, periodicals and literary works by Karl Marx, Robert Owen, Frederick Douglass, Margaret Fuller, Lousia May Alcott, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, among others. Editorial features designed to help students read the novel in the light of the documents includes a general introduction providing historical and cultural background, a chronology of Hawthorne's life and times, an introduction to each thematic group of documents, headnotes, extensive annotations, a generous of illustrations, and a selected bibliography.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312118037
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 2/15/1996
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

John Updike's most recent books include the novel Gertrude and Claudius and a collection of critical essays, More Matter. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Book Award, the O. Henry Prize, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and two Pulitzer prizes. He lives in Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt


I
Old Moodie


The evening before my departure for Blithedale, I was returning to my bachelor-apartments, after attending the wonderful exhibition of the Veiled Lady, when an elderly-man of rather shabby appearance met me in an obscure part of the street.

“Mr. Coverdale,” said he, softly, “can I speak with you a moment?”

As I have casually alluded to the Veiled Lady, it may not be amiss to mention, for the benefit of such of my readers as are unacquainted with her now forgotten celebrity, that she was a phenomenon in the mesmeric line; one of the earliest that had indicated the birth of a new science, or the revival of an old humbug. Since those times, her sisterhood have grown too numerous to attract much individual notice; nor, in fact, has any one of them ever come before the public under such skilfully contrived circumstances of stage-effect, as those which at once mystified and illuminated the remarkable performances of the lady in question. Now-a-days, in the management of his “subject,” “clairvoyant,” or “medium,” the exhibitor affects the simplicity and openness of scientific experiment; and even if he profess to tread a step or two across the boundaries of the spiritual world, yet carries with him the laws of our actual life, and extends them over his preternatural conquests. Twelve or fifteen years ago, on the contrary, all the arts of mysterious arrangement, of picturesque disposition, and artistically contrasted light and shade, were made available in order to set the apparent miracle in the strongest attitude of opposition to ordinary facts. In the case of the Veiled Lady,moreover, the interest of the spectator was further wrought up by the enigma of her identity, and an absurd rumor (probably set afloat by the exhibitor, and at one time very prevalent) that a beautiful young lady, of family and fortune, was enshrouded within the misty drapery of the veil. It was white, with somewhat of a subdued silver sheen, like the sunny side of a cloud; and falling over the wearer, from head to foot, was supposed to insulate her from the material world, from time and space, and to endow her with many of the privileges of a disembodied spirit.

Her pretensions, however, whether miraculous or otherwise, have little to do with the present narrative; except, indeed, that I had propounded, for the Veiled Lady’s prophetic solution, a query as to the success of our Blithedale enterprise. The response, by-the-by, was of the true Sibylline stamp, nonsensical in its first aspect, yet, on closer study, unfolding a variety of interpretations, one of which has certainly accorded with the event. I was turning over this riddle in my mind, and trying to catch its slippery purport by the tail, when the old man, above-mentioned, interrupted me.

“Mr. Coverdale!—Mr. Coverdale!” said he, repeating my name twice, in order to make up for the hesitating and ineffectual way in which he uttered it—“I ask your pardon, sir—but I hear you are going to Blithedale tomorrow?”

I knew the pale, elderly face, with the red-tipt nose, and the patch over one eye, and likewise saw something characteristic in the old fellow’s way of standing under the arch of a gate, only revealing enough of himself to make me recognize him as an acquaintance. He was a very shy personage, this Mr. Moodie; and the trait was the more singular, as his mode of getting his bread necessarily brought him into the stir and hubbub of the world, more than the generality of men.

“Yes, Mr. Moodie,” I answered, wondering what interest he could take in the fact, “it is my intention to go to Blithedale tomorrow. Can I be of any service to you, before my departure?”

“If you pleased, Mr. Coverdale,” said he, “you might do me a very great favor.”

“A very great one!” repeated I, in a tone that must have expressed but little alacrity of beneficence, although I was ready to do the old man any amount of kindness involving no special trouble to myself. “A very great favor, do you say? My time is brief, Mr. Moodie, and I have a good many preparations to make. But be good enough to tell me what you wish.”

“Ah, sir,” replied old Moodie, “I don’t quite like to do that; and, on further thoughts, Mr. Coverdale, perhaps I had better apply to some older gentleman, or to some lady, if you would have the kindness to make me known to one, who may happen to be going to Blithedale. You are a young man, sir!”

“Does that fact lessen my availability for your purpose?” asked I. “However, if an older man will suit you better, there is Mr. Hollingsworth,3 who has three or four years the advantage of me in age, and is a much more solid character, and a philanthropist to boot. I am only a poet, and, so the critics tell me, no great affair at that! But what can this business be, Mr. Moodie? It begins to interest me; especially since your hint that a lady’s influence might be found desirable. Come; I am really anxious to be of service to you.”

But the old fellow, in his civil and demure manner, was both freakish and obstinate; and he had now taken some notion or other into his head that made him hesitate in his former design.

“I wonder, sir,” said he, “whether you know a lady whom they call Zenobia?”

“Not personally,” I answered, “although I expect that pleasure tomorrow, as she has got the start of the rest of us, and is already a resident at Blithedale. But have you a literary turn, Mr. Moodie?—or have you taken up the advocacy of women’s rights?—or what else can have interested you in this lady? Zenobia, by-the-by, as I suppose you know, is merely her public name; a sort of mask in which she comes before the world, retaining all the privileges of privacy—a contrivance, in short, like the white drapery of the Veiled Lady, only a little more transparent. But it is late! Will you tell me what I can do for you?”

“Please to excuse me to-night, Mr. Coverdale,” said Moodie. “You are very kind; but I am afraid I have troubled you, when, after all, there may be no need. Perhaps, with your good leave, I will come to your lodgings tomorrow-morning, before you set out for Blithedale. I wish you a good-night, sir, and beg pardon for stopping you.”

And so he slipt away; and, as he did not show himself, the next morning, it was only through subsequent events that I ever arrived at a plausible conjecture as to what his business could have been. Arriving at my room, I threw a lump of cannel coal upon the grate, lighted a cigar, and spent an hour in musings of every hue, from the brightest to the most sombre; being, in truth, not so very confident as at some former periods, that this final step, which would mix me up irrevocably with the Blithedale affair, was the wisest that could possibly be taken. It was nothing short of midnight when I went to bed, after drinking a glass of particularly fine Sherry, on which I used to pride myself, in those days. It was the very last bottle; and I finished it, with a friend, the next forenoon, before setting out for Blithedale.

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Table of Contents

About the Series
About This Volume
List of Illustrations

PART ONE: THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE: THE COMPLETE TEXT

Introduction: Cultural and Historical Background

Chronology of Hawthorne's Life and Times

The Blithedale Romance [1964 Centenary Edition]

PART TWO: THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE: CULTURAL CONTEXTS

1. Prospects for Change
Karl Marx, On Alienated Labor
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, From The Communist Manifesto
Friedrich Engels, From The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844
Orestes A. Brownson, From "The Laboring Classes"
George H. Evans, On Land Reform
George H. Evans, "Vote Yourself a Farm"
Solomon Northrup, The Slave's Work Day
William Lloyd Garrison, "To The Public"
Frederick Douglass, Letter to William Lloyd Garrison
Abraham Lincoln, "Address to the Washingtonian Temperance Society of Springfield, Illinois"
Samuel Gridley Howe, From Report of the Minority of the Special Committee of the Boston Prison Discipline Society
Theodore Parker, From "A Sermon of the Dangerous Classes in Society"
Harriet Martineau, From "Miss Martineau On Mesmerism"
Margaret Fuller, From "The New Science; or, the Philosophy of Mesmerism or Animal Magnetism"
Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Earth's Holocaust"

2. The Idea of Community
Charles Fourier, The Impact of Industrialism, The Benefits of Association, and The Condition of Women
Albert Brisbane, From Social Destiny of Man, or Association and Reorganization of Industry
Robert Owen, On Individual Society vs. Cooperative Society
Frances Wright, From "Of Existing Evils, and Their Remedy"
John Humphrey Noyes and the Oneida Community, On Marriage
Amos Bronson Alcott and Charles Lane, On the Community at Fruitlands
Louisa May Alcott, "Transcendental Wild Oats"
Mary Gove, On the Columbian Phalanx
Adin Ballou, On the Hopedale Community
Joseph Smith, The Wentworth Letter
Harriet Beecher Stowe, "The Quaker Settlement" (From Uncle Tom's Cabin)

3. Life at Brook Farm
George Ripley, From the "Letter to the Church in Purchase Street"
Ralph Waldo Emerson, From "Man the Reformer"
Nathaniel Hawthorne, Letters to Sophia Peabody
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, From "Plan of the West Roxbury Community"
The Brook Farm Phalanx, Prospectus for The Harbinger
John Sullivan Dwight, On Life at Brook Farm
Rebecca Codman Butterfield, From "Reminiscences of Brook Farm"

4. Women's Roles and Rights
Angelina E. Grimké, "Human Rights Not Founded on Sex"
Catherine Becker, From A Treatise on Domestic Economy
Lydia Maria Child, On Womens' Rights
Margaret Fuller, From Woman in the Nineteenth Century
Nathaniel Hawthorne, On Margaret Fuller
Nathaniel Hawthorne, On the Death of Martha Hunt
Harriet Farley, "A Weaver's Reverie"
Elizabeth Cady Stanton et. al., "Declaration of Sentiments" and "Resolutions" Seneca Falls Convention

Selected Bibliography

Illustrations
The Times
Black and White Slaves in America and England
From Ten Nights in a Bar-Room
The Eastern Penitentiary
Dining Room at Sing Sing Prison
View of a Phalanx
A Group of Oneida Perfectionist
Pictures in {rogress
Title page from The Crisis
Obscene Orgies and Pernicious Teachings
Brook Farm
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Sophia Amelia (Peabody) Hawthorne
From Reveries of a Bachelor
Rustic Dance after Sleigh Ride
Women's Rights Convention
A Natural Consequence
Proper Prudence
Margaret Fuller
Time Table of the Lower Mills
New England Textile Mill

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