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In the following excerpt from the essay by John L. Idol, Jr. in Hawthorne and Women edited by John L. Idol, Jr. and Melinda Ponder, Dr. Idol discusses Mary Russell Mitford's view of Hepzibah as a genteel lady in a changing economic world.

Dr. Idol says that in Mary Russell Mitford's discussion of The House of the Seven Gables, "she expressed a special liking for Hepzibah, confessing that, once in an effort to support herself in the midst of financial straits, she had thought of setting up as a shopkeeper herself. 'Ah, I have a strong fellow-feeling for that poor Hepzibah - a decayed gentlewoman, elderly, ugly, awkward, near-sighted, cross!'" (Idol and Ponder 146). Mitford found Hawthorne's depiction of both Hepzibah and Phoebe very realistic. (courtesy of University of Massachusetts Press)




Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11624/


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