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From Salem Is My Dwelling Place by Edwin Haviland Miller, p. 105.

From Salem Is My Dwelling Place by Edwin Haviland Miller, p. 105.

Whether Hawthorne recognized it or not--and it is difficult to believe that he was unaware, . . . by the time he was in his early thirties he had established himself as an artist of the first order and had presented to America some of its greatest tales: "My Kinsman, Major Molineux," "Robert Malvin's Burial," "Young Goodman Brown," "The Gentle Boy," "Wakefield," "The Minister's Black Veil," and "Alice Doane's Appeal."

It is possible, however, that he failed to appreciate fully his achievement, for in Twice-told Tales he did not reprint three of these stories. Book publication of "Young Goodman Brown" and "Roger Malvin's Burial" had to wait until 1846 and "My Kinsman, Major Molineux" until 1851; "Alice Doane's Appeal," the most complex and possibly the most important of his stories, was not republished in his lifetime. Cautiously and shrewdly he selected for his first collection tales and sketches which he believed the public would accept, "Little Annie's Ramble," for example, rather than "Young Goodman Brown." People then and later were unaware that beneath the ethereal appearance Hawthorne was a pragmatic artist attuned to popular taste. Potentially troubling or anxiety-producing tales of the "Wakefield" order were offset by innocuous descriptive sketches, semihistorical accounts of seventeenth-century New England, and sentimental tales. Some of these works were not quite so innocent as many early readers apparently believed: they did not perceive that Hooper's veil was an objectification of Hawthorne's and that for a lifetime he cloaked himself in secrets, a characteristic which reappeared in his hesitant, tremulous, often deeply depressed fictional characters.

Source: Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991.

Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11919/

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