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Hawthorne's picturesque at home and abroad.

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE SPENT MANY YEARS SEARCHING FOR PICTURESQUE scenes in New England, England, Scotland, France, and Italy. His travel writings indicate that he followed conventional picturesque tourist routes and sought out popular destinations featuring ruins, cottages, tree-framed vistas, rugged terrain, and mixtures of heights, hues, and lighting. As an early participant in the nascent tourist industry in the northeastern United States in the 1830s, he acquired the techniques of picturesque viewing as well as the standardized idiom for translating scenes into notebook entries, sketches, and essays. (1) When he used these conventions in his domestic and foreign travels, he made tourism itself an explicit theme of his travel writing. His own sightseeing was modeled after English picturesque tourism, which had been based on late eighteenth-century aesthetic standards governing landscape painting and estate gardening. Hawthorne saw the English picturesque as an aristocratic mode of composition that was immensely appealing but in many ways at odds with an American ethos of social mobility: in his view, it privileged landscapes and standards of beauty produced by a hereditary landowning class and promoted the notion of a permanently poor class. His complicated relation to this aesthetic reflects his own ambivalence about English social stratification, and picturesque moments in his writing are often occasions to grapple with the powers and limitations of an American rhetoric of social mobility and economic promise.

As both a domestic and foreign tourist, Hawthorne had to contend with the ideological underpinnings of this aesthetic even as he found it compelling. He often responded to this challenge by detaching the pictorial conventions of the picturesque from his representations of white, native-born American men. In his writings based on travels in the northeastern United States, his picturesque figures tend to be European immigrants presumably fixed in their lowly positions. In his writings based on European travels, he also posits himself as a detached outsider, free to enjoy an aesthetic derived from a class system not his own. By aligning certain features of the picturesque with Old World social hierarchy, Hawthorne effectively reinforces, by way of contrast, a positive vision of American social fluidity.

Hawthorne offers one example of the various ways American writers and painters of his time embraced and revised an older English picturesque to articulate values they believed were distinctly American. But consistent with his understanding of the picturesque as a mode of composition that reveals its own operations, Hawthorne's picturesque ratifies American ideals as it questions the process of their making. This questioning is particularly dramatic in "Chiefly About War Matters" (1862), a late essay about a trip to Washington, D.C. and several Virginian battlefields during the Civil War. In this essay, the various modes of detachment that had enabled touristic pleasure in the face of derelict figures and scenes are no longer possible when he travels in the war-tom terrain of his own country. Not surprisingly, the picturesque conventions Hawthorne had previously linked to figures of Europeans and European immigrants (especially the Irish) emerge here in his description of fugitive slaves, reinforcing his alignment of this aesthetic with social stratification. But the picturesque also strikes him as surprisingly suited to the Confederate soldiers he encounters at a prison in Harper's Ferry. Unlike the fugitive slaves and European immigrants, these soldiers are both U.S.-born and white, and yet they seem to Hawthorne incapable of improvement. When he compares these soldiers to European peasants content with their lowly positions, this picturesqueness belies the assumption that social mobility is available to white native-born men.

This use of picturesque conventions makes clear that Hawthorne's prior notions of social mobility have been the result of his own limited vantage point. He relies on admittedly formulaic modes of looking at his surroundings on his wartime tour, and yet these conventional ways of seeing alert him to the possibility that his conception of the nation has been, more accurately, a conception of region, and an idealized and class-specific conception at that. In his wartime tour, he confronts an unfamiliar world within the borders of his own nation, making his tourism neither strictly domestic nor strictly foreign in the ways he had previously experienced but also casting doubt on the prospect of a unified nation. Scholars have long noted how Hawthorne self-consciously and often ironically makes New England stand in for the United States, most dramatically perhaps in his depictions of a New England Puritan past that contains the seeds of the future nation. (2) In "War Matters," Hawthorne approaches the question of New England's representativeness not through fictionalized Puritan history or even depictions of New England life but, instead, through an unsettling encounter between a New England traveler and the alien world of the South. Hawthorne is dismayed by what he takes to be insurmountable differences between New England and the South, but the essay also acknowledges the narrow regional perspective that has shaped his expectations of the South in the first place.

Exacerbating Hawthorne's concerns about national cohesion in "War Matters" is yet another rustic figure, namely, the Western pioneer who had begun to figure prominently in Americanized versions of the picturesque in the mid-century writings of James Fenimore Cooper and the landscape painting of the Hudson River School. Although this Americanized version of the picturesque promotes economic promise and social mobility, its expansionist vision also raises pressing questions for Hawthorne about the nation's future: where will the nation's borders lie? How will disparate peoples be integrated into one union? Will the nation manage to incorporate the West as it reconciles North and South? Hawthorne's efforts to see picturesque poverty and social hierarchy as distinctly European become untenable, and an American realignment of the picturesque with upward mobility cannot quell his doubts.

Tracing out Hawthorne's decades-long interest in the picturesque illuminates its complicated cultural relevance for the nineteenth-century United States. Through domestic picturesque tourism, Americans could hope to lay claim to a picturesque beauty comparable to that of Europe, and as an aesthetic of landscape, the picturesque was an important resource for American artists and writers struggling to balance the celebration of wildness with the endorsement of land settlement and improvement. But, in Hawthorne's view, American national self-definition depended on mobility--social, economic, geographic--in ways that were not always compatible with traditional picturesque conventions, and his picturesque depictions of the social landscape often raise troubling questions about class relations and attendant questions about regional and race relations in a fractured nation.

Importing the Picturesque

Although there is no evidence that Hawthorne read early English picturesque theorists such as William Gilpin, Uvedale Price, or Richard Payne Knight, his travel writings indicate that he was well versed in the various techniques through which gardeners, painters, and writers sought to create picturesque vistas featuring pleasing variety and irregularity. He saw crags, hillocks, ivy-covered ruins, dilapidated structures, and their inhabitants as movable pieces in a larger composition that could elicit the viewer's curiosity and break up the monotony and uniformity of a landscape. Hawthorne likely encountered John Ruskin's picturesque theory in the first two volumes of Modern Painters, which includes discussions of picturesque objects, such as snow generating contrasting light and shadow, an asymmetrical tree bough, or the broken stones on an aging roof. His primary introduction to these conventions, however, likely came through his reading of travel books and fictionalized travel sketches, such as Washington Irving's The Sketch Book (1819-20), and through American picturesque tourism, which gained popularity in New England and upstate New York after the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. Hawthorne relied on guidebooks, and his 1832 tour of the northeast United States probably followed much of the route that came to be known as the "American Grand Tour" (including the Hudson River, Erie Canal, Lake George, Catskills, Niagara Falls, White Mountains, and Connecticut Valley). This tour inspired a series of travel sketches, which Hawthorne published in the New-England Magazine, the editor of which introduced him to the magazine's readership as a traveler "in search of the picturesque." (3)

As Dennis Berthold has noted, the version of the picturesque most often dispensed to Americans in early nineteenth-century guidebooks and travel sketches was rather simplified and largely derived from Gilpin's theories. (4) A clergyman, schoolteacher, and amateur painter, Gilpin was the most likely of the early theorists to appeal to middle-class Americans, who sought in tourism an accessible form of education that could lead to moral improvement and social refinement. Whereas Price and Knight were both established landowners concerned with the creation of picturesque estate gardens and believed taste was available to a select few, Gilpin emphasized tourism as a means by which a wider array of people might have access to the picturesque. Popular guidebooks treated the picturesque as a set of conventions more than a coherent philosophy. To most nineteenth-century Americans, the picturesque meant various things--rough textures and contrasts; framed scenes; harmonious combinations of discrete elements; and itemized lists of scenic objects, such as ruins, cottages, and rural figures--and people felt free to emphasize or ignore conventions and formulate versions of the picturesque that spoke to their interests. (5)

American guidebooks such as Theodore Dwight's popular The Northern Traveller and Gideon Miner Davison's The Fashionable Tour, both published in 1825 and in subsequent editions throughout the 1830s and 40s, were organized around Gilpin's definition of the picturesque object or scene as one featuring pleasing irregularities, surprises, and variations in texture, light, and color. (6) Conceived as a corrective to Edmund Burke's pairing of the categories of the beautiful and the sublime, this picturesque offered an alternative to both the perfect symmetry and smoothness of the beautiful and the terror and vastness of the sublime. (7) Fittingly, the opening pages of Davison's Fashionable Tour announce that the contrasts inherent in nature "render [a] scene truly picturesque and enchanting," adding yet another pleasure to those "derived from a prospect of the beautiful and sublime objects of nature." Dwight's Northern Traveller similarly emphasizes the importance of "assemblage" and variety for framing landscapes, noting that "uniformity" is "quite unfriendly to the picturesque." Built into Dwight's directives to readers are assumptions about how best to frame a given scene: a place becomes picturesque, for example, when the tourist's perspective shifts slightly and so allows contrasting elevations to "range themselves in lines" or a "rustic cottage" to be "taken into view." (8)

Tourism made picturesque scenes more accessible to those who did not own estates but still had leisure time and disposable income. In the mid-century United States, the development of train and steamboat travel made such scenes increasingly affordable for even more widespread consumption among Americans seeking to cultivate moral improvement, taste, and social refinement. In addition, for those Americans who could not afford or undertake long journeys, subscription books of engravings and essays, such as Nathaniel Parker Willis's American Scenery (1840) and the anthology Home Book of the Picturesque (1852), brought the benefits of travel to their doorsteps. Promoting the leveling effect of such books in the Home Book's opening essay, James Fenimore Cooper declares that the collection aims not only to satisfy readers' cravings for new landscapes but "to equalize, as it might be, the knowledge of men and things." (9)

These guidebooks and subscription books took especially seriously Gilpin's claim that the "picturesque eye is perhaps most inquisitive after the elegant relics of ancient architecture; the ruined tower, the Gothic arch, the remains of castles, and abbeys." The irregular lines of a crumbling structure could break up the geometry and create partially obscured and suggestive scenes, and when overgrown with grass and ivy, a ruin also could serve as a poignant reminder of the locale's history or nature's powers to reclaim ephemeral human endeavors. (10) Hawthorne's "Old Ticonderoga: A Picture of the Past" (1836), a sketch about the ruins of Fort Ticonderoga near Lake Champlain, is itself a study in picturesque vision. Strolling the grounds of the fort with a West Point engineer, Hawthorne sees pleasing irregularity and the "poetry that has clustered round its decay," while the engineer sees only straight fines and symmetry, arranged according to principles "as accurate as a geometrical theorem." (11)

When Hawthorne encountered older and more magnificent ruins in England, Scotland, France, and Italy in the 1850s, the ruin became a key figure for the artwork itself, akin in its fragmented state to other prized genres like the sketch or the unfinished sculpture. In a visit to Furness Abbey, he finds that its broken arches generate the "effect of the first idea" that inspires the poet or artist before he attempts the mechanical process of giving material form to it. (12) In ways reminiscent of Friedrich Schlegel's theory of fragments, Hawthorne posits that the min, like the sketch, captures the workings of a mind at the moment of inspiration and conjures the work's transcendent idea or conception. A fragment of something that was once whole (what one might call a "ruin" fragment) and a fragment of a whole yet to be completed (what one might call a "project" fragment) only differ, then, in their temporality: one fragment looks forward, the other backward, but both create the effect of the whole. (13)

Hawthorne's European travels nurtured his love of ruins but also exacerbated his sense that the American landscape, with its smattering of Indian mounds and Euro-American war forts, was particularly unsuitable as a setting for romance. While an American need never look "beyond his own country for the sublime and beautiful of natural scenery," as Washington Irving writes, its picturesqueness was diminished by a dearth of "storied and poetical association." (14) This feeling of inadequacy motivated many writers and artists to create distinctly American versions of the picturesque even as they sought to emulate European standards of culture. The American painter Thomas Cole, for example, argues that because the relatively new United States suffered from a "want of [historical] associations" and ancient remains, its pictorial power lay in its untouched topography. Answering the charge that the United States was rude without picturesqueness, the English-born Cole celebrates a ruggedness and variety evident in the American landscape that was long ago "smoothed" and "tamed" in Europe by the agrarian and industrial revolutions. But this picturesque is also paradoxical, for in his effort to validate a landscape lacking antiquity, Cole argues that "American associations are not so much of the past as of the present and future," and the implication of this futuristic reorientation is that American landscapes are picturesque precisely because they contain the potential for improvement. In looking at the yet uncultivated scene, he writes, "the mind's eye may see far into futurity," detecting that "mighty deeds shall be done in the now pathless wilderness." Cole's American picturesque celebrates the "primitive features of scenery" that predate settlement even as it depicts settlement as inevitable and desirable. He writes of primeval forests "whose gloom was peopled by savage beasts and scarcely less savage men" but which have been transformed by "an enlightened and increasing people" who have "wrought changes that seem magical." (15)

Scholars of British Romanticism have argued that the English picturesque celebration of uncultivated wildness was, in part, a nostalgic response to accelerated enclosure of lands and the agricultural and industrial revolutions of the second half of the eighteenth century. (16) If the English picturesque begins with a lost wildness, Cole's American picturesque begins with a wildness that is only just beginning to disappear. As Berthold has shown, the earliest Americanized versions of the picturesque, found in novelistic depictions of travel in the 1790s, aimed to alleviate Americans' fears of a dangerous and savage frontier by positing touristic viewing as a means by which the eye could subdue the landscape and attain safe and pleasurable perspectives on alien, chaotic scenes in the forests and mountains. (17) By the 1830s, as westward expansion was accelerating, the picturesque became the idiom of Cooper's Leatherstocking novels, William Cullen Bryant's poetry, and the landscapes of Cole and other Hudson River School painters. These works ratified the emerging program of Manifest Destiny by demonstrating the inevitability of the land's transformation through land clearing, settlement, and Indian removal: a painted landscape, for example, often encapsulates a history of cultivation by picturing the sequential stages of "improvement" from foreground to middle ground to background, with the idealized landscape of the middle ground striking a balance between savage wilderness and over-cultivation. (18) It was precisely this balance, they believed, that would produce a stimulating picturesque effect, for the middle landscape elicited neither the terror associated with sublimity in the face of a wholly savage wilderness, nor the passivity associated with the beauty of an overly groomed terrain. This new American picturesque was decidedly more georgic than pastoral, featuring industry and moderately improved landscapes rather than the repose and artful decay that Gilpin had considered so agreeable to the eye. Whereas Gilpin had advised that all tools of husbandry be left out of the picture, Cole might leave an axe lodged in a freshly cut log or stump to serve as a positive symbol of land transformation. Implicit in this rhetoric of cultivatable wilderness was also a rhetoric of geographic mobility and an attendant social mobility, as inexpensive land would provide economic opportunity for a rising and resourceful agrarian class.

I emphasize the distinction between these Old and New World versions of the picturesque because as Hawthorne toured New England and then moved back and forth between the United States and Europe, he took a decidedly English version of the aesthetic with him. And yet, I would also emphasize, his traditional picturesque renderings of marginal American figures had the effect of preserving--for a select group of other Americans--a vision of social mobility that was consistent with the expansionist vision of the painting and writing of American wilderness. In "Chiefly About War Matters," I will show, he examines both forms of the picturesque and their mutual--and sometimes questionable--promotion of American promise.

Hawthorne's Tourism and the "Picturesque State of Society"

Drawing from the lexicon of picturesque tourism, Hawthorne's travel notebooks attend to the formal features of landscape, such as the "undulating variety of surface," the "abruptly" descending shoreline that breaks into "crags and prominences," the "wild and confused assemblage of heights" in a mountain range, the proliferation of images through reflecting surfaces, and contrasting hues. (19) He playfully compares himself to a painter arranging picturesque objects on a canvas--a castle, ravine, smiling valley, mountain stream, stone bridge, ancient arches--and delights in the fact that "all these particulars" make up a "very pleasant whole." (20) The variety, contrast, and piquancy of the picturesque offer a pleasing antidote to the monotony wrought by modernization.

But Hawthorne also sees the picturesque as a mode of vision that brings into view both an idealization and an obscured reality. He calls attention to what Malcolm Andrews considers a paradox at the heart of picturesque tourism: namely, that the tourist seeks both improved and untouched versions of nature simultaneously. (21) Hawthorne notes repeatedly that the picturesque scene is laudable in its beautification of nature but also distracting in its artificiality. He enjoys the artfully scattered sculpture and manmade lake of an English park, but he admits while visiting an Italian villa that the "artificial ruin" is "so picturesque that it betrays itself." He praises the painter or landscape gardener who arouses the viewer's curiosity by creating vistas and roughing up surfaces, but as he makes clear when he visits the grounds of Wordsworth's house at Grasmere, the telltale traces of such artifice undermine that aesthetic experience. Although he appreciates the efforts of "people of real taste" to "help Nature out" by "opening vistas, showing one thing, hiding another, making a scene picturesque," he is nagged by the "feeling that there is something false--a kind of humbug" in these prettifications. (22)

The sheer numbers of tourists treading the same well-worn routes often trivialized the experience for Hawthorne. Visiting crowded tourist sites, he once remarked, was like "drinking out of the same glass and eating from the same dish as a multitude of other people." (23) Although he devoured travel books and considered travel indispensable to his own education as a member of the leisure class, he bristled at the commercialized "fashion of the picturesque." While touring the Scottish Highlands, he marvels at the new Trossachs Hotel, constructed in the style of an old feudal castle, but he also notes the contrived quality of the environs providing "set preparation for enraptured visitants." The apparent remoteness of the area, with its rocks, heather, and ragged sheep, seems incongruous with the newly built roads "by which the common-place world is sluiced in among the Highlands." (24)

The picturesque, he notes, is particularly apt to "betray itself" in its composition of human subjects. In the English picturesque, rustic cottages and mills add poignancy and visual interest to a scene, and derelict structures are often accompanied by a suitably lowly figure, such as a forrester, gypsy, beggar, or squatter. Gilpin had insisted that although industry and cultivation were pleasing when viewed in a "moral light," the picturesque eye looks on them "with disgust," preferring the "dignity of character" accentuated by idleness and the irregularity and wildness of abandoned landscapes. (25) As Victorian tourism moved from the countryside to the city, writers like Ruskin and Charles Dickens questioned the ethics of touristic pleasure derived from scenes of overcrowding and squalor, and in the United States, Herman Melville satirized the "man of taste" who searches for the "povertiresque in the social landscape" as he would the picturesque in the natural landscape. (26) Passages in Hawthorne's notebooks emphatically juxtapose picturesque depictions of the poor with frank statements about the reality of their conditions. An English stone cottage bears a charming grass-covered thatched roof, but the structure itself looks "more suitable for donkey-stables or pigsties." In the town of Chester, the filth and odors suggest "sorrowful ideas" about what the houses' interiors must be like, and yet the "pervading ugliness" does not "fail to be picturesque." The ruins of the Marcellus Theater are tenanted by squalid people "as thick as mites within the round of an old cheese," suggesting they detract from its splendor, and yet he says it is picturesque precisely because of its intimate association with the "shops, habitations, and swarming life of modern Rome." While some of the more unsightly figures fail entirely to become picturesque, others are successfully absorbed by the beauty of the surroundings: dirty children, squalid women, and pigs in hovels at the base of the wall surrounding Conway Castle "melt into the picturesqueness of the scene, and do not harm it." (27) Scenes succeed in being picturesque both in spite of and because of their poverty. If poverty potentially detracts from picturesqueness, it is nevertheless essential to the aesthetic.

This aesthetic also depends upon land ownership that spans generations. Crumbling, ivy-covered structures, rutted roads, and tangled overgrowth cannot be produced in a single lifetime. (Price had emphasized that gracefully aging landscapes were far superior to those being produced quickly and mechanically by the newly wealthy.) In Our Old Home (1863), a collection of travel sketches about his experience as a New Englander in the Old World, Hawthorne describes one English estate, Nuneham Courtney, as "among the splendid results of long hereditary possession" scarcely evident in the United States, where the nation's short history, fixation on newness, and social fluidity hinder the slow and organic production of time-worn beauty. (28) "[W]e Republicans, whose households melt away like new-fallen snow in a spring morning," he adds, "must content ourselves with our many counterbalancing advantages" of upward mobility instead. Admiring a centuries-old hedgerow path in his ramblings among English castles, he notes that such a "picturesque" and "adventurous" bypath could never exist in the United States, "where land is continually changing its owners and its enclosures." The instability of property hinders the picturesque, as does open ambition and financial desperation. Tellingly, in his romance The House of the Seven Gables (1851), when the Massachusetts Pyncheon family goes bankrupt and must annex a shop to the stately front gable of their house, the store window does "damage" to "any picturesque and romantic impression" the writer might create of the "respectable edifice." (29)

Hawthorne's European travel writings discern in the picturesque a clear link between class stratification and its aesthetic ideals. Ann Bermingham and John Barrell were among the first scholars to show how the development of the picturesque helped justify the enclosure of common lands, promote a vision of the rural poor as contented, and create standards of picturesque beauty that would exclude the nouveaux riches. Picturesque landscape theories were often rooted in efforts by established landowners to consolidate power and status in the face of threats from both the agitating poor and the new industrialists who were building estates in the countryside. Hawthorne ties this aesthetic to class stratification not simply because established land ownership produces timeworn structures but because he believes poverty is more easily aestheticized when the viewer can assume it is an essential condition of the lower orders of society.

Hawthorne's sketch about his trip aboard an Ontario steamboat in 1832 emphasizes that upward social mobility precludes what he calls a "picturesque state of society." In this sketch, Hawthorne writes that the steamboat's strict division into a grand cabin, forward cabin, and forward deck creates something "analogous to that picturesque state of society" of other nations and earlier times "when each upper class excluded every lower one from its privileges" and an individual was "content with his allotted position" because there was no way of "bettering it." Unlike the society aboard the boat, American society contains different ranks that "melt and mingle into one another," making it as "impossible to draw a decided line between any two contiguous classes" as it is "to divide a rainbow accurately into its various hues." (30) In Hawthorne's view, this tendency of the picturesque conflicts with the idea of social mobility, which, he believes, requires permeable boundaries between classes.

By Hawthorne's own admission, he is drawn to the picturesque, in part, because he takes comfort in what he perceives to be the ossified class structure of England; in this sense, he exhibits what Joel Pfister has identified in Hawthorne as a "self-critical inclination to explore beyond his own ostensible ideological preferences." (31) In Our Old Home, he writes that he tires of the continually fluctuating society of his own country. The American promotion of "growth and change as the law of his own national and private existence" has instilled in his heart a "singular tenderness for the stone-incrusted institutions of the mother-county." It is important to note that Hawthorne enshrines the notion of an English picturesque rooted in social stability but also acknowledges that such timelessness does not actually exist in any pure form. " I hated to see so much as a twig of ivy wrenched away from an old wall, in England," he writes wistfully, and yet "change is at work, " for among the thatched roofs and quaint gables he spies new houses and buildings undergoing repair and restoration. (32)

Although Hawthorne laments the inferior picturesqueness of his native country, he also sees it as a reasonable price to pay for the opportunity to rise within the ranks of society. At times, in fact, Hawthorne invokes picturesque conventions to identify groups within U.S. society for whom, he believes, such mobility is not available. In "Ontario Steam-Boat," the members of the "mob" on the forward deck, he is careful to point out, do "not belong to that proud and independent class, among our native citizens, who chance, in the present generation, to be at the bottom of the body politic." Whereas these "exiles of another clime--the scum which every wind blows off the Irish shores--the pauper-dregs which England flings out upon America" are wed to their lowly positions, the native citizen is in such a position only temporarily and by "chance." Crucially, it is the Irish immigrants who become "picturesque by the magic of strong light and deep shade" as they warm themselves by a fire on the river bank. (33)

Hawthorne's responses to Irish immigrants in his travel writings are marked by both repulsion and sympathy. (34) He expresses concern about their "dissipated habits," and many sketches are organized around offensive cultural stereotypes of Irish people as alcoholic, abusive, promiscuous, and lazy. I would add that when he represents them in sympathetic terms, he relies on picturesque conventions that render them agreeable and assimilable by naturalizing their poverty and lowly status. Perhaps the most striking of these instances are his descriptions of the crude dwellings of Irish people living in Maine and Massachusetts. When the turf piled against the wall of an Irish hut in Maine is covered with grass, "it makes quite a picturesque object," even though upwards of 20 people might lodge there. The huts of Irish railroad workers near Walden Pond are surrounded by the "shouts and laughter of children," women washing clothes, and "long lines of whitened clothes ... fluttering and gambolling in the breeze," and a pig "grunting, and poking his snout through the clefts of his habitation." These huts are crammed with pots, kettles, rough benches, and a bed on the floor; and yet, Hawthorne writes,

   with all these homely items, the repose and sanctity of the old
   wood do not seem to be destroyed or prophaned; she overshadows
   these poor people, and assimilates them, somehow or other, to the
   character of her natural inhabitants. Their presence did not shock
   me, any more than if I had merely discovered a squirrel's nest in a
   tree. (35)

Like his other picturesque treatments of the poor, this description both idealizes and calls attention to its own idealizing maneuvers. Hawthorne does not hide the fact that the shanty is rude and only slightly less "extemporary" than the pigsty, but elements that might otherwise be repugnant are here mingled with sunshine, children's laughter, and freshly washed shirts blowing in the breeze. Like the huts that "adapt" themselves to the niches among trees, Irish poverty is "assimilated" to the beauty of the surroundings.

Hawthorne renders mill girls and their boarding houses in similar terms when he recalls encountering a textile factory in North Adams, Massachusetts in 1838. He writes of the "picturesqueness in finding these factories, supremely artificial establishments, in the midst of such wild scenery," noting the vine-covered lodgings and the young girls looking out of the windows as he passes in a stage coach. Although the girls and young women were likely not impoverished like the Irish immigrants, their jobs did not offer substantial economic prospects, and they likely hoped just to make supplemental income that might free them from complete reliance on their fathers and husbands. (36)

As a traveler in Europe, Hawthorne considered himself an outsider and so free to admire the aristocracy's "picturesque effect on society." Writing in Our Old Home about a quaint English chapel graveyard filled with generations of nobles, he declares that a "titled and landed aristocracy" is "an evil and an incumbrance" but only to the nation that must bear it. To a certain extent, the detachment that makes this "gratuitous enjoyment" possible had also been at work during his domestic tourism in 1832, for by linking the social picturesque to older European societies and those Europeans migrating to the United States, he could render immigrants in pictorial terms that kept intact, and even reinforced, the notion of social mobility among its native citizens. (37) When Hawthorne traveled to Washington during the Civil War, however, that seemingly detached perspective was no longer possible. In "Chiefly About War Matters," he encounters a new kind of native citizen, the white Southerner, who reminds him of the European peasant permanently tied to his lowly condition. Readers have always characterized this essay as a dispassionate response to war, but when it is read in relation to Hawthorne's picturesque travel writings, "War Matters" actually highlights the extent to which the emotional detachment he long associated with picturesque tourism was no longer possible.

Landscapes of Union and Disunion

Hawthorne journeyed to Washington by train in March 1862 at the invitation of his friend and college classmate, Horatio Bridge, then the head of provisions for the U.S. Navy. Hawthorne's purpose was to see the war first-hand. Accompanied by the publisher William Ticknor, he visited the Capital, where he met Abraham Lincoln and several cabinet members, lawmakers, and military leaders. During his month-long stay in Washington, he visited the Capitol building and the Willard Hotel and took excursions to several nearby towns and battlefields, including Manassas, Alexandria, and Harper's Ferry. Although Hawthorne kept a travel journal, it is no longer extant, and most of what we know about this trip comes from the essay itself, which was published in The Atlantic four months later. In his study of American literature of the Civil War, Daniel Aaron calls this essay "one of the most curious War documents written by an American man of letters. " (38) Long neglected and only recently of interest to scholars, the essay displays a tone that can be difficult to decipher. It is at times despairing, at time cavalier, both angry and sympathetic toward Southerners. Hawthorne opposed slavery in theory but did not want the bloodshed of war.

On this journey, Hawthorne sought out places with so-called historical associations. He visited the Marshall House Inn in Alexandria where Col. Elmer Ellsworth had been killed the previous year while removing the Confederate flag from atop the tavern, becoming the first known casualty on the Union side. He visited the building that John Brown had seized for a fortress during his raid on Harper's Ferry and an ivy-covered pre-Revolutionary brick church where George Washington had attended service. Among destinations, however, the ruined forts assume the greatest importance in Hawthorne's essay. These naked ruins with their muddy unsodded slopes of earth remind him that prior to the war, the only known forts in the United States were those that had become "grass-grown with the lapse of at least a lifetime of peace." In The Marble Faun and "Old Ticonderoga," ruins are pleasurable as both tourist destination and subject of romance because they belong to worlds that were not Hawthorne's, but in "War Matters," present-day realities interrupt his reveries. "There is no remoteness of life and thought," he announces in the essay's opening, "no hermetically sealed seclusion, except, possibly, that of the grave." Only with the passage of time, will such unsightly fortifications become "grass-grown and picturesque memorials of an epoch of terror and suffering." Like Fort Ticonderoga, they will one day gratify tourists, serve "to make our country dearer and more interesting to us," and "afford fit soil for poetry to root itself in." Time-worn beauty will one day redeem this painful reminder of civil strife, becoming an "herb of grace" in the "old footprints of war." (39)

Visiting battlefields so soon after conflict leaves Hawthorne questioning his own tourism, as picturesque beauty strikes him as trivial in the face of urgent political and social crisis. Describing his approach to Harper's Ferry, he recalls that the scenery grew picturesque as he drew nearer, presenting "as striking a vista among the hills as a painter could desire to see," but concludes that "a beautiful landscape is a luxury, and luxuries are thrown away, amid discomfort." Even if he takes a strictly "aesthetic point of view," dissociating pictorial elements from the ethical question of such enjoyment, he finds the war has done great harm. He notes ravaged axe-hewn trees and horse carcasses rotting on the roadsides, and when he finally arrives at Harper's Ferry, a site that had two decades earlier been praised by Willis's American Scenery as perhaps the "most singularly picturesque in America," he finds a ruin that is "shapeless" rather than visually pleasing." (40)

When Hawthorne visits the prison at Harper's Ferry, he encounters human subjects who lend themselves readily to English picturesque conventions but in disturbing ways. Peering into an engine-house that has been converted into a prison, he initially sees a wretched place crammed with Confederate soldiers, some heaped on straw, others huddled together, some staring at the visitors and others showing no sign of consciousness. Once Hawthorne senses no "hostile feeling" among the prisoners, however, the men appear to him as "simple, bumpkin-like fellows, dressed in homespun clothes, with faces singularly vacant of meaning." They are, Hawthorne writes,

   sufficiently good-humored; a breed of men, in short, such as I did
   not suppose to exist in this country, although I have seen their
   like in some other parts of the world. They were peasants, and of a
   very low order; a class of people with whom our northern rural
   population has not a single trait in common. They were exceedingly
   respectful; more so than a rustic New-Englander ever dreams of
   being, towards anybody, except perhaps his minister; and had they
   worn any hats, they would probably have been self-constrained to
   take them off, under the unusual circumstances of being permitted
   to hold conversation with well-dressed persons. (41)

The comparison of abject prisoners to happy peasants contrasts starkly with his characterization of Southerners elsewhere in the essay as savage and semi-barbarous, and it is so overwrought that it is hard not to take his comparison as a statement about the idealizing tendencies of the picturesque. By presenting the prisoners as simple and deferential men who have not the "remotest comprehension" of the cause for which they have fought and probably see their confinement as a "god-send," the description defuses the threat of their rebellion. But in diminishing one threat, Hawthorne exposes another by challenging the narrative of American self-improvement and mobility.

Through this startling encounter with Confederate prisoners, who resemble human types he "did not suppose to exist" in the United States, Hawthorne dramatizes his own realization that he has understood social mobility by way of a narrowly defined and relatively privileged group of New Englanders. This idealization clarifies for Hawthorne and his reader that he has made New England stand in for the nation--and also that perhaps he has idealized New England rural life as well: in a discussion of the shabbiness of Southern homes in the previous paragraph, he notes the New England habit of layering white coats of paint on their buildings--a tactic so "efficacious in putting a bright face on a bad matter"--as if to suggest that New Englanders tend to prettify their own landscapes. (42) For Hawthorne, the encounter with Southern prisoners also forebodes a difficult national reconciliation. Weighing on Hawthorne during these travels and in a scene such as this is the question of the union's survival and the nation's ability to hold the union together in the long term: if the North manages victory, how will it accomplish a "regeneration of a people," and how will the ruined South and a defeated people be reconciled--politically but also culturally--with the rest of the nation? (43)

Concerns about social mobility and regional reconciliation also govern the essay's description of an encounter with fugitive slaves making their way north. Trudging forward with "leisurely delay," these men strike Hawthorne as distinctly more rustic than their Northern black counterparts and, in his judgment, "far more agreeable." He declares, "So rudely were they attired--as if their garb had grown upon them spontaneously--so picturesquely natural in manners, and wearing such a crust of primeval simplicity," which is "quite polished away from the northern black man." The description compares fugitives to mythological creatures: "fauns and rustic deities," who are detached from present-day reality, "not altogether human, " and inserted into a story of lost Arcadian simplicity. (Similarly, in Hawthorne's Marble Faun, the faun-like Donatello gains moral and intellectual development at the price of his innocence and kinship with the natural world.) That these fugitives strike Hawthorne as picturesque should not come as a surprise, for they are hardly figures of upward economic or social mobility. In one sense, they will lose this innocence as they take on the refinement of their Northern counterparts, but in another sense, disenchantment awaits them because they are also Southerners who may never find themselves at home in the North. For reasons having to do with both racial and regional difference, they will discover a "hard battle with the world, on very unequal terms" if they ever reach their destination. (44)

Until recently, the prevailing opinion among scholars was that Hawthorne's depiction of fugitive slaves in pictorial terms, as rustic Arcadian creatures, represents a turn to aesthetics that refuses to confront the problem of race and slavery. (45) In an important dissenting reading of "War Matters," however, Edward Wesp has argued that aesthetics is not a detour in a text otherwise devoted to realism, but, rather, that the "link between aesthetics and politics" is the "central, explicit subject" of Hawthorne's essay. (46) I agree, but my concern is not aesthetics generally (a rubric which has included, in the critical account, figuralism, literary genre, physical beauty, mythology, and fantasy) but, specifically, Hawthorne's version of the picturesque as a mode of visualizing and representing human subjects assigned to a fixed segment of society. If one reads this essay in relation to the travel writings Hawthorne produced over the course of the prior three decades, it is hard to imagine that he ever believed a picturesque representation of fugitive slaves could effectively contain or conceal the problem of slavery, as some scholars have argued. Aligning the fugitives with picturesque rusticity, he invokes aesthetics, in fact, to stress the social immobility that has characterized their lives in the South and will continue to do so should they succeed in getting to the North.

Hawthorne's picturesque, which highlights rather than obscures social stratification, would seem to ironize the picturesque conventions of Southern pro-slavery literature, which, as Christopher Hanlon has detailed, often sentimentalized slavery by viewing slaves and their humble dwellings from long range and depicting them in states of pastoral repose. (47) In a relevant and recent reading of "War Matters," Justine Murison also interprets the fugitive passage as one that reveals the "limitations of the genre of the picturesque" by registering social disruption rather than the harmonious whole associated with this mode of composition. (48) While I agree with Murison's conclusion that Hawthorne holds up the picturesque for examination, I would emphasize that the uneasy coexistence of harmony and disruption-of an agreeable scene and the telltale traces of dire circumstances--is an inherent and acknowledged feature of all of Hawthorne's picturesque depictions of the derelict. What is most jarring at this moment, I find, is the clarity with which he understands that the fugitives' futures will be bleak, even in the North and even in a post-emancipation era.

If Hawthorne evades the problem of race, he does so precisely by subordinating it to the problem of region. The description of the fugitives is organized around a contrast not between white and black but between Northern black and Southern black, just as his description of the Southern prisoners was organized around their comparison to members of the Northern rural class. Unlike the polished Northern black man, the "picturesquely natural" Southern black man still retains his "crust of primeval simplicity" (whether Hawthorne would otherwise think of the Northern black man as socially mobile is unclear, but in this passage, he has succeeded at least in acquiring refinement). Hawthorne, as a picturesque tourist, frames the fugitive in terms of quaint simplicity, just as he had envisioned the Confederate prisoner as a European peasant, and yet picturesque visions raise concerns that neither Southern whites nor former slaves can be easily incorporated into Northern society if the union is saved. In such a vast country, national cohesion does not come easily. The United States is a country "too various and too extended to form really one country," he had written to Horatio Bridge in 1857, "New England is quite as large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in." (49)

Concerns about national union, raised by the figures of the Confederate soldier and fugitive slave, become even more legible if one considers them in relation to yet another picturesque figure noted in the essay's opening pages: the western pioneer in Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's preliminary sketch of what would become the mural Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way, known informally today as Westward Ho! (fig. 1). Hawthorne recalls that while touring the Capitol building, he encountered Leutze at work on this sketch, the painted version of which still hangs in the Capitol today. This composition depicts a motley group of settlers and explorers pausing at the Continental Divide as they travel westward to the Golden Gate in San Francisco Bay. Under Leutze's "free and natural management," Hawthorne writes, the "garb of the hunters and wanderers" is "shown as the most picturesque of costumes." Although properly speaking a history painting in the making, Leutze's work, like so many mid-century landscape paintings of the American West, strikes Hawthorne as "emphatically original and American" in its representation of the topography, creating "new forms of artistic beauty" unique to the "natural features of the Rocky Mountain region." As Leutze "draws with an unwavering pencil, beautifying and idealizing [the country's] rude, material life," he embraces a new, Americanized picturesque that celebrates expansion and the cultivation of wilderness. (50) Leutze's sketch, so "full of energy, hope, progress, irrepressible movement onward," is cheering at a time when the country is mired in conflict, but the mural will only "glow for centuries on the walls of the Capitol" if the edifice and the Union it represents are not destroyed by treason. This inspiring scene must "weigh against a sinister omen" elsewhere in the building, for the original copper dome of the Capitol is being replaced with a new cast iron dome three times the original size, and the facade under the dome bears obvious cracks. A collapsed Capitol building would be an "appropriate catastrophe," for the new dome is the indirect result of the nation's expanding borders: with the addition of new states came new Congressional seats and an expanded Capitol building, which, in turn, necessitated a dome of larger proportions. (51) Such a collapse will signal that the nation has expanded to the breaking point.

Although Hawthorne contrasts Leutze's cheering sketch with the ominous cracked facade, both objects, in fact, represent the questionable prospect of national expansion, and the painting's "cheerful auguries" are tenuous at best. Westward settlement might make available land and economic opportunity, ease sectional conflict and overcrowding in the East, absorb freed slaves in the event of emancipation, and provide a neutral place of reconciliation for Northerners and Southerners. It might also, however, allow the spread of slavery and create a sprawling, weakened empire. Leutze saw the U.S. conquest of the continent as the final stage of a millennia-long expansion of freedom that included the Reformation, English Civil War, settlement of North America, and American Revolution, and in the finished version of the painting, he placed a black pioneer in the foreground to imagine the frontier as a space of racial inclusivity (albeit a limited inclusivity, for he did not object to Indian removal). The momentum of Leutze's sketch, however, is countered by the possibility that the country might have arrived at "a deadly stand-still." (52) The image of a collapsed dome is a key figure in Hawthorne's essay because it has the power to suggest both the rise of empire and its demise. As a partially completed structure, it elicits both the project and the ruin. In "War Matters," the Capitol building itself becomes a fragment of ambiguous meaning: the building shows signs of duress as the government attempts to construct a dome that will reach higher into the sky, prompting Hawthorne to wonder whether the country is a project still in the making or on the brink of collapse.

After the Civil War, American writers turned to picturesque travel writing in an effort to heal the nation. Lynn Murray has detailed how the conventions of picturesque tourism helped promote an appealing version of the South, notable for its antiquities and relics, for the purposes of reconciling the region with the rest of the country. (53) The popular two-volume parlor table book, Picturesque America (1872-74), drew on the notion of the picturesque as an aesthetics of contrast and combination to present the United States as a harmonious assemblage of distinct regions newly integrated by a transcontinental railroad. (54) The work's expansionist vision is especially evident in the second volume's title page, in which the newly enlarged Capitol dome towers over an archway of artfully trained trees, aligning the mastery of landscape with national power (fig. 2). In order to celebrate this expansion, Picturesque America makes topographical diversity stand in for more politically charged forms of social, economic, racial, and regional diversity. As Sue Rainey observes, the editors of the collection gloss over or softpedal social tensions in order to depict a "largely homogenous society." At the end of the century, Carrie Tirado Bramen writes, magazine writing about American cities also used the picturesque to idealize the "urban realities of class disparity and ethnic heterogeneity." (55)

Although the compositional mode of the picturesque could create a "pleasant whole" on the page or canvas, it was unclear to Hawthorne in 1862 whether the nation could hold together. Unlike those post-bellum writers who used the conventions of picturesque tourism to render alien regions and peoples quaint for readers, Hawthorne uses those conventions to stage an often uncomfortable encounter between a New England traveler and the South. His Old World picturesque is a marker of social stratification that emerges in the Southern landscape, undercutting the ideal of American social mobility and highlighting regional difference. In "War Matters," white Southern prisoners and Southern fugitive slaves cannot be safely situated outside the nation, and nor can the triumphalist New World picturesque of Leutze's sketch assure Hawthorne of a promising future for them within its borders.

New York University


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For their feedback and suggestions, I thank Joseph Rezek, Edward Cahill, Lloyd Pratt, the anonymous reviewer for the journal, and those in attendance at Boston University's "Romanticism in the Atlantic World" conference.

(1.) Hawthorne undertook a tour of New England and upstate New York in 1832 and took smaller trips to various places in New England in the 1830s and 40s. He toured London and the English countryside from 1853 to 1857 and from 1859 to i860, and he traveled in France and Italy in 1858 and 1859.

(2.) Michael J. Colacurcio, for example, argues that Hawthorne's New England tales question the extent to which a Puritan emphasis on liberty of conscience might have given rise to an American "revolutionary consciousness" and democracy in the late eighteenth century; see Province of Piety: Moral History in Hawthorne's Early Tales (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 478.

(3.) New-England Magazine 9 (November 1835): 321-26, quoted in Hawthorne's American Travel Sketches, eds. Alfred Weber, Beth L. Lueck, and Dennis Berthold (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1989), 27.

(4.) Berthold, "Charles Brockden Brown, 'Edgar Huntly', and the Origins of the American Picturesque," The William and Mary Quarterly 41, no. 1 (January 1984): 62-84.

(5.) John Conron's American Picturesque (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000) examines the influence of the English picturesque on nineteenth-century American culture but is more concerned with painting, architecture, landscape design, and literature than with tourism. See also Carrie Tirado Bramen, "A Transatlantic History of the Picturesque: an Introductory Essay," Nineteenth-Century Prose 29, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 1-19.

(6.) For discussions of English picturesque theory, see William John Hippie, Jr., The Beautiful, The Sublime, and The Picturesque in Eighteenth-Century British Aesthetic Theory (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1957); Malcolm Andrews, The Search for the Picturesque: Landscape Aesthetics and Tourism in Britain, 1760-1800 (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 1989); Timothy M. Costelloe, The British Aesthetic Tradition from Shaftesbury to Wittgenstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).

(7.) While the term picturesque originally designated anything suitable for a painting, Gilpin used it to designate a third aesthetic category, which he considered to be a subset of the beautiful. Hence, Gilpin used the term "picturesque beauty" throughout his essays on landscape aesthetics.

(8.) Davison, The Fashionable Tour, in 1825. An Excursion to the Springs, Niagara, Quebec and Boston (Saratoga Springs: G. M. Davison, 1825), 28, 27; Dwight, The Northern Traveller: Combined with the Northern Tour, Containing the Routes to Niagara, Quebec, and the Springs, with the Tour of New-England, and the Route to the Coal Mines of Pennsylvania (New York: G. & C. Carvill, 1828), 391, 318, 307.

(9.) The Home Book of the Picturesque: or American Scenery, Art, and Literature (New York: G. P. Putnam, 1852), 31, my emphasis.

(10.) William Gilpin, "On Picturesque Travel," Three Essays: on Picturesque Beauty; on Picturesque Travel; and on Sketching Landscape (London: Blamire, 1792), 46. See Sophie Turner, Romanticism and Visuality: Fragments, History, Spectacle (New York: Routledge, 2007), and 4150 in Andrews, Search for the Picturesque, for an especially helpful overview of the various ways ruins were interpreted by late eighteenth-century English picturesque theorists.

(11.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Old Ticonderoga: A Picture of the Past," Hawthorne's American Travel Sketches, 64-70, 66.

(12.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The English Notebooks 1853-1856, vol. 21 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, eds. Thomas Woodson and Bill Ellis (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1997), 235.

(13.) For a discussion of Hawthorne's interest in this distinction, see Deanna Femie, Hawthorne, Sculpture, and the Question of American Art (Famham: Ashgate, 2011).

(14.) Irving, The Sketch Book, in History, Tales, and Sketches (New York: Library of America, 1983), 744.

(15.) Cole, "Essay on American Scenery," The American Monthly Magazine 7 (January 1836): 1-12, 11, 5, 11, 12, 5, 4, 5.

(16.) See Ann Bermingham, Landscape and Ideology: The English Rustic Tradition, 1740-1860 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986); John Barrell, The Dark Side of the Landscape: The Rural Poor in English Painting 1730-1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980); and The Politics of the Picturesque: Literature, Landscape, and Aesthetics since 1770, eds. Stephen Copley and Peter Garside (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

(17.) Berthold, Origins of American Picturesque, 76.

(18.) For discussions of Manifest Destiny and the picturesque in American art and literature, see Angela Miller, Empire of the Eye: Landscape Representation and American Cultural Politics, 1825-1873 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993); Kendall Johnson," 'Rising from the stain on a painter's palette': George Catlin's Picturesque and the Legibility of Seminole Removal," Nineteenth-Century Prose 29, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 69-93; Kris Fresonke, West of Emerson: The Design of Manifest Destiny (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003); Rochelle L. Johnson, Passions for Nature: Nineteenth-Century America's Aesthetics of Alienation (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009).

(19.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The French and Italian Notebooks, vol. 14 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. Thomas Woodson (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1980), 145; Hawthorne, English Notebooks 1853-56, 272; Nathaniel Hawthorne, English Notebooks 1856-60, vol. 22 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, eds. Thomas Woodson and Bill Ellis (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1997), 10.

(20.) Hawthorne, French and Italian Notebooks, 274.

(21.) Andrews, Search for the Picturesque, 3.

(22.) Hawthorne, French and Italian Notebooks, 145; English Notebooks 1853-56, 250.

(23.) Hawthorne, English Notebooks 1853-56, 261.

(24.) Hawthorne, English Notebooks 1856-60, 11.

(25.) William Gilpin, Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty, Made in the Year 1772, on Several Parts of England, 3rd ed., vol. 2 (London: Blamire, 1808), 44.

(26.) For an account of nineteenth-century urban picturesque tourism and its Victorian critics, see Malcolm Andrews, "The Metropolitan Picturesque," Search for the Picturesque, 282--98; Herman Melville, Pierre, Or the Ambiguities, vol. 7 of The Writings of Herman Melville, ed. Harrison Hayford, et al. (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, and Newberry Library, 1971), 276.

(27.) Hawthorne, English Notebooks 1856-60, 274; English Notebooks 1856-60, 320; French and Italian Notebooks, 106; English Notebooks 1855-56, 119.

(28.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home: A Series of English Sketches, vol. 5 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. William Charvat et al. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1970), 191.

(29.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, Our Old Home, 191; English Notebooks 1853-56, 130; The House of the Seven Gables, vol. 2 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. William Charvat, et al. (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1965), 28.

(30.) Hawthorne, "An Ontario Steam-Boat," Hawthorne's American Travel Sketches, 50.

(31.) Phister, "Hawthorne as Cultural Theorist," The Cambridge Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. Richard H. Millington (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 3559, 36.

(32.) Hawthorne, Our Old Home, 60.

(33.) Hawthorne, "Ontario Steam-Boat," 49, my emphasis; "A Night Scene," Hawthorne's American Travel Sketches, 48.

(34.) For examinations of Hawthorne's treatment of the Irish, see Beth L. Lueck, "'Meditating on the Varied Congregation of Human Life': Immigrants in Hawthorne's Travel Sketches," Nathaniel Hawthorne Review 14, no. 2 (1988): 1-7; and chapter one of Leonardo Buonomo, Immigration, Ethnicity, and Class in American Writing, 1830-1860: Reading the Stranger (Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013).

(35.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks, vol. 8 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. Claude M. Simpson (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1972), 40, 396.

(36.) Hawthorne, American Notebooks, 88.

(37.) Hawthorne, Our Old Home, 87.

(38.) Aaron, The Unwritten War: American Writers and the Civil War (New York: Knopf, 1973), 49

(39.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Chiefly About War Matters. By a Peaceable Man," Miscellaneous Prose and Verse, vol. 23 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, eds. Thomas Woodson, Claude M. Simpson, and L. Neal Smith (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1994) 403-45, 406, 403, 418-19.

(40.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 425, 419, 426; Nathaniel Parker Willis, American Scenery; Or, Land, Lake, and River, vol. 2 (London: George Virtue, 1840), 42.

(41.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 429.

(42.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 429, 426-27.

(43.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 431.

(44.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 419-20. The English writer Edward Dicey, who met Hawthorne on this trip, corroborates the story of this encounter. He recalls that he and Hawthorne saw fugitives while they strolled a battlefield in Manassas, Virginia, and after giving them food, drink, and money, helped them board a north-bound train. See "Nathaniel Hawthorne," Hawthorne in his Own Time, eds. Ronald A. Bosco and Jillmarie Murphy (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007), 115-23, 119.

(45.) Jean Fagan Yellin was among the first to argue that the depiction of the fugitives in mythological terms represents an effort, perhaps unconscious, to evade the political reality of slavery. Subsequent scholarly accounts resist the clear-cut dichotomy of reality and aesthetics, arguing instead that the aesthetics in this passage are inseparable from racial politics: Nancy Bentley argues that it is through the conjunction of reality and fantasy that Hawthorne can render the fugitive both man and faun, making him both sympathetic but also isolated as a distinct creature; Arthur Riss has argued that by locating the black fugitives "on the side of the aesthetic [the abstract and figurai] rather than the particular and the individual," Hawthorne effectively excludes them from antebellum definitions of personhood and citizenship. See Yellin, "Hawthorne and the Slavery Question," A Historical Guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne, ed. Larry J. Reynolds (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 135--64; Nancy Bentley, The Ethnography of Manners: Hawthorne, James, Wharton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Arthur Riss, "The Art of Discrimination," ELH 71, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 251-87.

(46.) Wesp, "Beyond the Romance: The Aesthetics of Hawthorne's 'Chiefly About War Matters,'" Texas Studies in Literature and Language 52, no. 4 (Winter 2010): 412. Wesp's concerns are different from mine, as he examines Hawthorne's dissatisfaction with the Romance narrative and its inability to represent American ideals of progress. We concur nevertheless in our conclusion that Hawthorne is self-consciously taking up the subject of aesthetics.

(47.) Hanlon, America's England: Antebellum Literature and Atlantic Sectionalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).

(48.) Munson, "Feeling out of Place: Affective History, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Civil War," ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance 59, no. 4 (2013): 537.

(49.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Letters 1857-1864, vol. 18 of The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, eds. Thomas Woodson, James A. Rubino, L. Neal Smith, and Norman Holmes Pearson (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1987), 18.

(50.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 409, 410.

(51.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 409, 410.

(52.) Hawthorne, "War Matters," 410, 409. See Jochen Wierich, "Struggling through History: Emanuel Leutze, Hegel, and Empire," American Art 15, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 52--71.

(53.) Murray, "'A newly discovered country': the Post-Bellum South and the Picturesque Ruin," Nineteenth-Century Prose 29, no. 2 (Fall 2002): 94--119.

(54.) Picturesque America; or, The Land We Live In, 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1872 74)

(55.) Sue Rainey, Creating Picturesque America: Monument to the Natural and Cultural Landscape (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1993), 203; Carrie Tirado Bramen, "The Urban Picturesque and the Spectacle of Americanization, " American Quarterly 52, no. 3 (September 2000): 444.
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Author:Baker, Jennifer J.
Publication:Studies in Romanticism
Geographic Code:1U100
Date:Sep 22, 2016
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