"My Kinsman, Major Molineux" rpt. in Hawthorne's The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales (Boston: Ticknor, Reed, and Fields, 1852)

        The story's next appearance in print was in The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales (1852).  By this point in his career, Hawthorne was a well-established name who had published a previous collection (Mosses from an Old Manse) six years earlier in 1846, and his first great novel, The Scarlet Letter, in 1850.  For this reason, the publishers let him package the stories in the order he chose, and let him oversee the edition through the press.  This makes scholars trust the copy-text of "MK,MM" more than that of the 1832 edition, which Goodrich edited.  In what order do we encounter "MK,MM" in The Snow-Image, and what do you think Hawthorne means by placing it there?  My copy of this edition, in its original publisher's binding, also contains some interesting owners' signatures on the front flyleaves.  Can you identify either of these women? What does this suggest about NH's readership, and how might those particular readers have reacted to "MK,MM"'s "shrewd youth" and the people he meets, especially his friend in the "scarlet petticoats"?

Strategy 1--read "MK,MM" in the context of the story that came before it: "Little Daffydowndilly" (237-46) is an allegory about the protagonist, a sheltered young man raised by his mother, and his tutor, "Mr. Toil."  How do "Daffy"'s adventures compare with Robin's, and how does the narrative style of the previous story compare with that of "MK,MM"?  Is Hawthorne striving for a harmonious relationship in some ways, or for jarring contrasts in others?  Does "LD" set up an interpretive "frame" for Robin's story?

Strategy 2--read "MK,MM" in the context of the story that came after it:  Surprise--there are none!  What does it mean that Hawthorne expected the end of this story to be the end of the entire short story collection?  You might want to take a look at "Little Daffydowndilly (above) as well as the first and title story in the collection, "The Snow Image: A Childish Miracle" (13-35).  The collection's narrative arc, from first story to last, says something that affects each story in the book.

 You also have the choice to digitally reconstruct that story-collection reading by reading the tales online, or to reproduce the actual print-edition reading experience Hawthorne's nineteenth-century readers would have had by reading them in print editions reserved for this 105 section in the Library's Special Collections room.  Contact me or the Special Collections Librarian (x6467) to arrange to read the print editions in person.