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offers a good opportunity for directing young students toward a more thoughtful attention in reading. Prose, with its familiar forms and its more intimate relations to other studies, is often a better field for practice in criticism than poetry, especially as the student has the advantage of using it himself. The writing of poetry frequently helps in a critical interpretation of poetical forms, but to most such exercises have an element of unreality, while prose, as the mother tongue of all, affords a material which is never strange. It is worth while, therefore, to show the young what fine qualities exist in that which all men are using
The more expanded character of prose makes annotation less necessary than in poetry. Besides, the interruption of an obscure reference is less fatal to enjoyment than in poetry. The editor, therefore, has given fewer notes than in American Poems, and has purposely left work to be done by the reader, the doing of which will add a zest to his reading. This is most noticeable in the case of Emerson's essay on Books. It would be an admirable exercise for any young student to edit this paper by making full references to the array of points presented in it. A similar exercise in local historical study could be found in commenting upon Hawthorne's sketch of Howe's Masquerade.
Acknowledgment is made to Messrs. G. P. Putnam's Sons for their courtesy in permitting the use of the selections from Irving's Sketch Book.
It was Hawthorne's wont to keep note-books, in which he recorded his observations and reflections; sometimes he spoke in them of himself, his plans, and his prospects. He began the practice early, and continued it through life; and after his death selections from these note-books were published in six volumes, under the titles : Passages from the American Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Passages from the English Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Passages from the French and Italian Note-Books of Nathaniel Hawthorne. In these books, and in prefaces which
appear in the front of the volumes containing his collected stories, one finds many frank expressions of the interest which Hawthorne took in his work, and the author appeals very ingenuously to the reader, speaking with an almost confidential closeness of his stories and sketches. Then the Note-Books contain the unwrought material of the books which the writer put out in his lifetime. One finds there the suggestions of stories, and frequently pages of observation and reflection, which were afterward transferred, almost as they stood, into the author's works. It is very interesting labor to trace Hawthorne's stories and sketches back to these records in his note-books, and to compare the finished work with the rough material. It seems, also, as if each reader was admitted into the privacy of the author's mind. That is the first impression, but a closer study reveals two
facts very clearly. One is stated by Hawthorne himself in his preface to The Snow-Image and other Twice-Told Tales: “I have been especially careful [in my Introductions] to make no disclosures respecting myself which the most ifferent observer might not have been acquainted with, and which I was not perfectly willing that my worst enemy should know.
I have taken facts which relate to myself [when telling stories] because they chance to be nearest at hand, and likewise are my own property. And, as for egotism, a person who has been burrowing, to his utmost ability, into the depths of our common nature for the purposes of psychological romance - and who pursues his researches in that dusky region, as he needs must, as well by the tact of sympathy as by the light of observation will smile at incurring such an imputation in virtue of a little preliminary talk about his external habits, his abode, his casual associates, and other matters entirely upon the surface. These things hide the man instead of displaying him. You must make quite another kind of inquest, and look through the whole range of his fictitious characters, good and evil, in order to detect any of his essential traits.”
There has rarely been a writer of fiction, then, whose personality has been so absolutely separate from that of each character created by him, and at the same time has so intimately penetrated the whole body of his writing. Of no one of his characters, male or female, is one ever tempted to say, This is Hawthorne, except in the case of Miles Coverdale in The Blithedale Romance, where the circumstances of the story tempt one into an identification ; yet all Hawthorne's work is stamped emphatically with his mark. Hawthorne wrote it, is very simple and easy to say of all but the merest trifle in his collected works; but the world has yet to learn who Hawthorne was, and even if he had not forbidden a biography of himself, it is scarcely likely that any
life could have disclosed more than he has chosen himself to reveal.