Reading Hawthorne Stories in Contemporary C19 Print Editions
Hawthorne worked hard to invent himself as an original American author. When he began writing, few American novelists were read in America or England, and he was deeply aware of America's "Post-Colonial" status, no longer linked to the country from which it inherited its language, laws, customs, and sense of historical significance, but not yet intellectually "independent." His first attempt at a novel, written while he was a senior at Bowdoin College, so embarrassed him that he sought to buy up all copies of the book and destroyed them. Hawthorne proceeded slowly, for many years publishing anonymously four or five short stories each year in holiday-themed annual volumes, and in emergent journals of what was then popular culture (now "American literature"). When his magazine publishing success had finally made his name known to editors, four years after his marriage to Sophia Peabody, Hawthorne persuaded the famous Boston publishers, Ticknor and Fields, to reissue some of those stories in short story collections (compare Hemingway's In Our Time). His first attempt at another novel, House of the Seven Gables, was published when he was forty-seven. To see a timeline of his publication history, click here. To learn more about Hawthorne's publication of his work, see this PDF version of Nina Browne's A Bibliography of Nathaniel Hawthorne (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1905).
"My Kinsman, Major Molineux."--Possible Research Thesis Development Approaches Using Historical Primary Sources
Read it in The Token, an 1832 Christmas season annual magazine in which it was first published: after a set of poems about youth, artistry, the shortness of life, and memory (83-8); before poems about love and care, a young lady's vanity about her hair, and the grief of a soldier's widow (116-22).
Read it in The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales, an 1852 short story collection in which Hawthorne republished it as one in a sequence of his own stories: after "Little Daffydowndilly" (237-46), an allegorical story about a young man trying to evade the instruction of harsh "Mr. Toil." "MK,MM" is the last story in the collection, so it relates most naturally, after "LD," to the first story in the collection, "The Snow Image: A Childish Miracle" (13-35).
"Rappaccini's Daughter"--Possible Research Thesis Development Approaches Using Historical Primary Sources
Read it in the context in which it was first published: R. S. S. Andros, "The Prisoner" (a four stanza poem) and/or Edgar Allen Poe's "Marginalia" (585-6 and surrounding passages for context).
Read it in the context in which Hawthorne republished it as a sequence of his own stories: after "Young Goodman Brown" (69-84) and/or before "Mrs. Bullfrog" (119-27).
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.