Week 6 Discussion Guide: Thursday--The Hawthorne Project
Before you come to the class, reread the web page on when and why scholars use secondary scholarly sources. Be prepared to discuss the various typical ways your paper might use other scholars' work as support for your own independent arguments as they might be applied to the paper you are revising.
The class will be a peer-editing workshop in which you will read each other's papers and offer suggestions for improvement. Pay specific attention to places in the paper where the argument could be improved by some research that could solve problems created by missing evidence that other scholars might be able to supply. Remember that literary analysis, like analysis of any human product, often benefits from historical information about the values and beliefs of the people who were alive when the work was made. In particular, knowing what Hawthorne believed might be especially relevant, and his scholarly biographer would be ideally suited to reveal that information in many cases. This is evidence you might get from the biographical research group reports, or from their sources, or from Hawthorne's notebook writings. There also are a number of other literary and historical studies of nineteenth-century New England, as well, that can answer those kinds of questions. Finally, remember the MLA Bibliography which you can consult from the library web site. I will circulate among the groups to help you solve research problems, and we will work together to locate, to evaluate, and to plan how to use at least some secondary scholarly sources to strengthen the revised versions of the Hawthorne papers which are due tomorrow.
Having trouble figuring out how to cite the online texts of your primary sources, the two Hawthorne short stories? I have found it's best to give writers in 105 a clear model of what they should look like. Click here for the model.
Do you want to know the dates of first publication of the two stories and their relationship to Hawthorne's life? Click here for that time line of his publishing history.
If you need a copy of The Scarlet Letter for some comparative analysis of Hawthorne's later use of some narrative strategy, there is an adequate one here. If you use it, see the splendidly careful notes at the bottom of the menu page about how Eric Eldred produced the digital surrogate of the 1850 Ticknor and Fields first edition, corrected against the modern Norton edition. This is the sign of scholarly attention to detail which distinguishes an expert site, though not peer-reviewed, from an amateur site.