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The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne Review

Title: The Blithedale Romance

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne

First published January 1, 1851

198 pages, Paperback

ISBN: 9780451514882 (ISBN10: 0451514882)

Rating: 3.36


Forsaking the bustling city life, a group of idealists venture into a pastoral haven, determined to reform a dissolute America. However, the Blithedale community proves to be a melting pot of clashing aspirations and their dream of changing the world is quickly thwarted by their own self-serving interests.

As they abandon farmwork for personal pursuits, tragedy inevitably unfolds. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s poignant yet satirical tale laments the loss of a rural paradise, akin to the idyllic America of the nineteenth century.

About the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne, a celebrated American author and short story writer of the 19th century, played a vital role in shaping American literature through his captivating tales of the nation’s colonial past.

After graduating from Bowdoin College, Hawthorne changed his name from Hathorne and began his writing career by anonymously publishing his first novel, Fanshawe, in 1828. He went on to publish several other works and eventually became engaged to a skilled painter and illustrator in 1837.

In 1842, he married her and they settled in The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts, before moving to Salem, the Berkshires, and ultimately, to The Wayside.

Hawthorne’s literary works, which are primarily based in New England, often incorporate moral allegories inspired by Puritanism. His writing is considered a part of the Romantic movement and includes novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend, former US President Franklin Pierce.

In addition to his writing career, Hawthorne also worked at a Custom House and joined a Transcendentalist Utopian community.

After a political appointment took him and his family to Europe, Hawthorne returned to The Wayside in 1860. Unfortunately, he passed away on May 19, 1864, leaving behind his wife and three children.

Editoral Review

Nathaniel Hawthorne is a renowned American author who has penned down several notable works of literature such as The Scarlet Letter, Twice-Told Tales, and The Blithedale Romance. His writing style is characterized by its romanticism and symbolist themes, which continue to fascinate readers.

The Blithedale Romance, first published in 1851, is a classic novel that explores Hawthorne’s most enduring themes of freedom, individualism, and morality. Set in the idyllic countryside of Massachusetts, the novel centers around a group of idealistic people who come together to create a utopian society known as Blithedale.

The main character, Miles Coverdale, joins the community with the aim of escaping the rigid social norms of Boston and finding his inner self. However, as the community’s flaws and personal struggles are revealed, Miles is forced to re-evaluate his beliefs and desires.

The novel’s main strength lies in Hawthorne’s evocative and descriptive prose, which captures the essence of the novel’s setting and characters. Hawthorne’s skillful character development brings to life a diverse cast of characters, each with their own motivations and insecurities.

As the novel progresses, their relationships become increasingly complex, culminating in a series of dramatic events that leave a lasting impact on the reader. The Blithedale Romance’s portrayal of the hardship and reality of life in a utopian community serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of idealism and the potential for exploitation.

As such, the novel holds significant historical and cultural significance, helping to shed light on the radical movements of the 19th century and their legacies. Moreover, the novel’s preoccupation with the conflict between individualism and community highlights an issue that continues to resonate with readers today.

Overall, The Blithedale Romance is a masterpiece of literature that is sure to captivate readers with its poetic language, vivid imagery, and compelling characters. Hawthorne’s skillful weaving of intricate themes and relatable characters makes this novel a must-read for anyone interested in the complexities of human nature and the meaning of freedom.

Therefore, I highly recommend this book to all readers who enjoy thought-provoking literature that provides insights into the human condition. With its captivating prose and timeless themes, The Blithedale Romance is truly a classic.

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