Excerpts from Brenda Wineapple’s Hawthorne: A Life (courtesy of
A. Knopf ) pp. 41-42
Commentary on Hawthorne’s adolescent creation in the summer of 1820, a family newspaper entitled The Spectator
...Nathaniel brought Salem and Raymond [Maine] together in The Spectator, a homemade newspaper he composed for his family, detailing their goings-on in both places. Using the format of the Salem papers, particularly the Gazette, he provided gossip as well as humorous and homiletic essays on topics like benevolence, wealth, courage, and industry—although he didn’t know too much about the latter topic, he said, “it not being one of the attributes of literary men.’
As Nathaniel’s declaration of independence and his passport into literature, The Spectator presents Nathaniel in a new guise. Writing without the veil he adopted in later life—the veil of fiction—Nathaniel introduces himself as the gentleman scribbler, blue-blooded aloof and indolent, a spectator of the roiling world but not of it, and a success of sorts, though not of the Thumpcushion kind” (41-42).