excerpt from Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times
In this excerpt from Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times by James R. Mellow, he
discusses the lack of allegorical scaffolding and Gothic elements in The Blithedale Romance.
(courtesy of Johns Hopkins University Press)
In his biography entitled Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times, James R. Mellow notes that in this novel Hawthorne “dispensed with much of the heavy machinery of allegory that had encumbered a good deal of his earlier fiction. And, despite the trafficking in spiritualism and séances, there are fewer Gothic devices—no ancestral portraits, no family curses—in The Blithedale Romance” (393). He also observes that “at the moment when Melville (with Hawthorne as exemplar) was becoming openly allegorical, Hawthorne [was] pursuing the fictional possibilities of the actual” (393).