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Title: 'All that associates, saves' : Hawthorne biography and twentieth-century American cultural criticism
Author: Groth-Seary, Angela
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2005
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This study gives an account of the roles that biographies of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a nineteenth-century American writer, have come to play within the twentieth-century discourses concerned with American literature as a national literature and as a field of academic inquiry. While attempting to outline the general development of Hawthorne biography in this context, it concentrates mainly on three Hawthorne biographies and on the historical, intellectual and political contexts within which they were produced: Newton Arvin's Hawthorne, published in 1929, Randall Stewart's Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Biography (1948), and Walter Herbert's Dearest Beloved: The Hawthornes and the Making of the Middle-class Family (1993). Each of these lives has been a benchmark in Hawthorne biography; they have introduced new theories and methods and have been embraced by some contemporary critics but contested by others. The first chapter of this thesis outlines debates about biographical practice in a specifically American context. Chapter 2 reads the Hawthorne biographies of the 1920s in the context of Van Wyck Brooks's call to 'create a usable past'. Chapter 3 examines the Hawthorne biographies of the late 1940s, paying particular attention to the ways in which politically conservative or liberal values are inscribed in them and situating them in relation to the attitudes towards biography on the part of practitioners of the New Criticism on one hand and of historical scholarship on the other. Chapter 4 explores new developments in Hawthorne biography since the early 1980s and specifically analyses Herbert's 'new historicist' study of the nuclear Hawthorne family in the light of David Reynolds's notion of 'cultural biography'. The thesis ends with a conclusion which considers the forms in which Hawthorne biography might continue in the twenty-first century.
Supervisor: Carabine, Keith ; Claridge, Henry Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: P Language and Literature