Week 6 Discussion Guide: Tuesday--The Hawthorne Project
Before you have read the pages 1-30 from the notebook, please read this web page about Hawthorne's letters, private journals and the "Lost Notebook," In class, we will talk about what you discovered in the journals as you looked for Hawthorne's "prewriting" that might have led to any of the three stories we read. I hope we also will have time to consider the legal and ethical questions raised by the use of an author's private, unpublished writing to study that which he has published.
One purpose of this assignment is to bring you into contact with a stage in the stories' composition that you should be able to identify with as writers struggling to find things to say. Hawthorne learned early that a professional author is "always writing," even when walking or riding along the road, even when not holding a pen. Hawthorne's journals are a great example of the fully-literate habit of mind that records the day's experiences and reflective thought in anticipation of the chance to write it down later, to develop it, to discover what it has to tell the mind at leisure when more intricate connections can be made among observations. How do does an author's mind grow and develop ways of viewing and representing the world? How does an ordinary New England boy grow up to become a world-class author?
If you have time, you also can find, in the library collection, the texts of Hawthorne's other journals and letters written during the period in which he was writing these stories. The main source is The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Eds.William Charvat ... et al. (Columbus, OH: Ohio State UP, 1962) v.14. The French and Italian notebooks -- v.15. The letters, 1813-1843 -- v.16. The letters, 1843-1853 -- v.17. The letters, 1853-1856 -- v.18. The letters, 1857-1864 -- v.19. The consular letters, 1853-1855 -- v.20. The consular letters, 1856-1857. 816 H39 1962. Pay attention to the chronology of the entries to determine which letters or journal entries would be most valuable.