Professor Millington reviews a number of scholarly studies of Hawthorne
and the feminine elements of both the form and content of his writing.
He notes that Hawthorne, a foe of conventional marketplace masculinity
and apparent advocate for the relatively liberated alternative ways of
living of his female characters, paradoxically endorsed stereotypical
gender roles for women in his personal life. He also shows ways that
Hawthorne presents himself as female in his writing, in some respects a
standard Victorian approach but in other ways a gender-bending element
with understandable appeal to the gay sensibility of Herman Melville.
The Millington lecture connects clearly with literary links between
Hawthorne and Melville as seen in the male-as-female reference in the
twenty-sixth chapter of Hawthorne's The Blithedale Romance. There
Hawthorne-like narrator Coverdale identifies himself with passionate
female Zenobia in their love-hate relationships with Melville-like
Hollingsworth: "It suits me not to explain what was the analogy that I
saw, or imagined, between Zenobia's situation and mine; nor, I believe,
will the reader detect this one secret, hidden beneath many a revelation
which perhaps concerned me less." While no one would argue a perfectly
one-to-one relationship between Hawthorne and Coverdale, it is
significant that the author's male narrator in this case explicitly
refers to his position with Hollingsworth in its resemblance to that of
the female character Zenobia. Hawthorne's character thus makes the
cross-gender identification that Millington shows Hawthorne himself
made, and the novel's earlier suggestions of Coverdale's ambiguous
sexuality are thus substantially reinforced. Just as Hawthorne,
moreover, did not promote improved conditions for Victorian women,
Coverdale takes no effective steps to aid the female character with whom
he identifies and who is ultimately destroyed by her hopeless love. The blending of Coverdale and Zenobia in their relationships with Hollingsworth in The Blithedale Romance provides an instructive example of Millington's points about Hawthorne's use of females and femininity in his writing. Both the novel and the lecture suggest gender-related
elements contributed to the qualities of Hawthorne's work that
Dr. David B. Kesterson, University of North Texas, "Hawthorne
and Melville," lecture presented at the Phillips Library, Salem, Massachusetts,
23 September 2000
Professor Kesterson examines the differences and similarities
in Hawthorne's and Melville's backgrounds, the development of their 1850-1851
friendship in the Berkshires, and evidence for the lasting impact they had upon
each other's works.
The expression "The Scarlet Reader" in the title of Leland Person's lecture
alludes to Barry Werth's 2001 book The Scarlet Professor: Newton Arvin - A
Literary Life Shattered by Scandal. Werth explores the life and work of Newton
Arvin, admired literary scholar from Smith College; and Person focuses on Arvin's
contribution to our understanding of Hawthorne and Melville. While numerous writers
have investigated the sexual tension between Hawthorne and Melville, no one has
done so with more personal identification than Arvin who, as partner of author
Truman Capote for a time, clearly knew a thing or two about same sex relationships.
As a victim of Cold War era homophobia, moreover, Arvin, as well as his scholarship,
eventually came to be cruelly dismissed and discredited. In a more enlightened
time, Person demonstrates that Arvin's voice remains vital, both for his literary
insight and the unique perspective resulting from his sexuality and the persecution
he suffered for it.
Dr. John W. Stuart, Manchester-Essex Regional High School, The
Hawthorne-Melville Relationship, a paper presented at the Annual Convention
of the National Council of Teachers of English, Indianapolis, IN, Friday, 19
Melville's novelette Billy Budd connects with Hawthorne in several
respects: I.) an allusion to Hawthorne's short story "The Birthmark"; II.) tensions
of same sex relationships that mirror situations in both the real lives and
fictional narratives of Hawthorne and Melville; and III.) a preoccupation with
the nature of evil, an ongoing subject of fascination for both authors.
In this paper Dr. Hewitson explores elements in Hawthorne's "Chiefly
About War Matters" that "can be understood as reiterating and expanding
upon his earlier depictions of encroaching mechanization within American culture."
In addition, Dr. Hewitson argues that “'War Matters' can be seen as anticipating
later similar treatments of issues of mechanization and its potential for profound
subjective and social realignments, such as Herman Melville’s Battle-Pieces
and Aspects of the War, Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in Kng
Arthur’s Court and Henry Adams’ Education of Henry Adams.