Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Ministers Black Veil Essays: The Minister’s Black Veil and its Author :: Ministers Black Veil Essays

The Ministers Black Veil and its Author Evaluated By Contemporaries Initially, of course, Nathaniel Hawthornes short stories went unranked among those of other American and British writers. But his reputation, along with the touristyity of his works, grew gradually even among contemporary critics, until he was recognized as a man of magnificence. Edgar Allen Poe, in a review of Hawthornes work, said in Godeys Ladys Book, November, 1847, no. 35, pp. 252-6 It was never the fashion (until lately) to speak of him in any summary of our best authors. . . . The peculiarity or sameness, or monotone of Hawthorne, would, in its mere character of peculiarity, and without reference to what is the peculiarity, suffice to deprive him of all chance of popular appreciation. But at his failure to be appreciated, we can, of course, no longer wonder, when we lift him monotonous at decidedly the worst of all possible points--at that point which, having the least concern with Nature, is the farthe st removed from the popular intellect, from the popular sentiment and from the popular taste. I allude to the strain of metaphor which completely overwhelms the greater number of his subjects. So literary critic Edgar Allan Poe thinks that Hawthornes heavy reliance on allegory is the cause of his lack of popularity during the 1830s and 40s. In 1848 James Russell Lowell wrote a piece of poetry entitled Hawthorne for the periodical A Fable for Critics There is Hawthorne, with genius so shrinking and rare That you hardly at first see the strength that is there A frame so robust, with a nature so sweet, So earnest, so graceful, so lithe and so fleet, Is worth a descent from Olympus to meet Tis as if a rough oak that for ages had stood, With his gnarled careworn branches like ribs of the wood, Should bloom, after cycles of struggle and scathe, With a single anemone trembly and rathe His strength is so tender, his wildness so meek. . . . The author considers that now, afte r cycles of struggle and scathe, Hawthorne is finally emerging into recognition for his work. In 1850 Herman Melville wrote Hawthorne and His Mosses for The Literary World, August 17 and 24 editions, in which he humbly acknowledges the genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne

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