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130th Modern Language Association Annual Convention

Vancouver, 8-11 January 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015, 3:30-4:45 pm

Panel 105. Hawthorne and Class

Program arranged by the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Presiding David Greven, University of South Carolina, Columbia

1. "Reproductive Futurism, Violence, and The Blithedale Romance," Dana Medoro, University of Manitoba

In this paper, I bring the novel's stunning proliferation of economic tropes--including the invisible hand by which Zenobia feels symbolically throttled--in line with queer-theorist Lee Edelman's polemic on "the reproductive futurism" encoded in heteronormative assertions of power. I begin with the contention that the novel searches for the possibility of a queer resistance to that futurism, even as it represents pathological expressions of it in both Moodie and Coverdale. These ideas rest upon my assertion that Coverdale murders Zenobia--literally throttles her--in order to derail Hollingsworth's plans for converting the nascent Blithedale into the groundwork of his philanthropic scheme. Feeling robbed of a future, Coverdale operates through Zenobia to birth his own scheme; he converts her "surplus [value] of vitality" into use value and imprints the image of her corpse on Hollingsworth's mind. In other words, Coverdale insinuates that Hollingsworth has an invisible hand in her so-called suicide as a way of enacting vengeance upon him. In this contestation, Hawthorne ultimately explores what Lee Edelman puts so well: that "the future is mere repetition and just as lethal as the past" (No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive).

2. "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore: Exorcising Hawthorne's Unregenerate Daughter," Carina Pasquesi, Baruch College, City University of New York

This paper engages a daughter's resistance to her father's plan, a plan old as time for women, that requires the daughter to forfeit possession of her body in the name of family and wealth. The daughter's act of resistance is an unusual and clever one, so much so that it is often not recognized as resistance. Sabotaging the impending marriage arranged by her father to a European nobleman, Alice Pyncheon allows herself to "fall" under the spell of her father's enemy, the carpenter Matthew Maule in The House of Seven Gables. An active agent in her own seduction, Alice takes herself out of the triangulated traffic in women that leaves her with few options: namely, marriage and motherhood. If women have traditionally borne the responsibility of the transmission of culture and wealth, nurturing and raising future generations, then Alice's actions, in a novel preoccupied with breaking out of an oppressive generative cycle, represent a rejection of the very institutions and traditions that women have been entrusted to perpetuate.

3. "Cross-Class Intimacy in the Boarding-House of the Seven Gables," Erin Sweeney, University of California, Irvine

Hepzibah Pyncheon's cent-shop opening in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables (1851) tends to be read in one of two ways: as drawing the Pyncheons out of their "circle of gentility" and into a mixed-class public, or as initiating the market's penetration of a private domicile. Both readings overlook an earlier opening of the house involving economic exchange: the conversion of the private dwelling into a boarding-house. Often read in the gothic and sentimental traditions, the novel also must be considered in the less well-known tradition of boarding-house fiction to illuminate cross-class intimacy occasioned by boarding as the mechanism that resolves the novel's founding class feud between aristocratic Pyncheon and plebian Maule. A comparison with T.S. Arthur's 1851 cautionary tale "Taking Boarders" highlights how Hawthorne evokes and then diminishes conventional dangers of boarding-house fiction to offer the model of the extended and extendable boarding-house family as an alternative to foundational Pyncheon ideas of exclusive blood-based kinship, or to a divided society based on the purely economic relations depicted in the cent-shop. While Arthur portrays boarding-houses as making economic relationships of what should ideally have been social relationships, Hawthorne's story casts the integration of domestic and commercial space as a hopeful one that introduces opportunities for base economic ties and socioeconomic divisions to be transmuted into affective ties of preference.

4. "'This Unmelodious Contrivance': Music and Class in Hawthorne's Novels," Joshua Jensen, Claremont Graduate University

Music in Hawthorne's novels is associated with "low" culture, immorality, and debased aesthetic practices. Whether it is the "covetous little devil" working with the Italian barrel-organ grinder in The House of the Seven Gables, the devil-costumed fiddler in The Blithedale Romance, or the street musicians in The Marble Faun who are joined by the animalistic and "lawless" Donatello, Hawthorne depicts music as a social practice linked to questionable morality. Such music is repeatedly the product of lower social classes. For Hawthorne, music represents, in a broader sense, the clamor of Jacksonian America, where the masses have made themselves heard. Scenes of musical performance are sites of social and aesthetic conflict. When Donatello grasps a tambourine, Hawthorne calls the instrument an "unmelodious contrivance," even as Donatello's use of the instrument "produced music of indescribable potency." Thus an instrument without the capacity for beautiful melody nonetheless makes powerful music. Hawthorne's misgivings about music and its links to lower social classes leads to a depiction of music as a precarious source of pleasure, aesthetic expression, and social mixing. For these very reasons, Hawthorne describes music in terms associated with discord, decay, and deception.

American Literature Association

Boston, 21-24 May 2015

Hawthorne and Spenser

Session arranged by the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society

Edmund Spenser's legacy had a foundational influence on the literature of the antebellum United States, his writings a source text for American poesis, allegory, and epic. Nathaniel Hawthorne repeatedly recalled sleeping with Faerie Queene in hand and, in naming his eldest daughter Una, provoked a disagreement with the Spenserian editor George Hillard about the propriety of pairing the transcendence of allegorical virtue with an earthly daughter. The community of transnational devotees that sprung up around Spenser, which also included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Margaret Fuller, Herman Melville, and Louisa May Alcott, hints at the eagerness of individual authors to assert a personal tie to British tradition belying louder assertions of national literary autonomy and also reflects the active concern about the adaptability of Spenser to the everyday lives of American audiences. The proposed panel will seek to correct the comparative lack of discussion about Spenser's influence in U.S. literature by focusing on Hawthorne's intertextual uses of Spenser's writing.

(CPF closes November 15th, 2014; contact David Greven or David Lee Miller at and

American Literature Association

Boston, 21-24 May 2015

Hawthorne and (Auto) Biography

Session arranged by the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society

In "The Old Manse" Hawthorne writes, "So far as I am a man of really individual attributes, I veil my face; nor am I, nor have ever been, one of those supremely hospitable people, who serve up their own hearts delicately fried, with brain-sauce, as a tidbit for their beloved public." Based on this assertion, one could argue that Hawthorne resisted-even resented-autobiography. To what degree has Hawthorne succeeded in keeping himself out of his own texts? How have biographers viewed Hawthorne's autobiographical impulses? How do 21st-century biographers like Brenda Wineapple view Hawthorne differently than 19th-century biographers like Henry James? All approaches to Hawthorne and (Auto) Biography, whether broadly or narrowly defined, will be welcome.

Please send 250-word abstracts by December 20th, 2014 to both Sandra Hughes and Sam Coale: and Use subject line "Hawthorne at ALA."
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Title Annotation:Along the Wayside
Publication:Nathaniel Hawthorne Review
Date:Sep 22, 2014
Previous Article:In memoriam.
Next Article:From the editor's Gable.

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