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If any trend in literary theory over the last decade is worth singling out, surely it is the growing wariness of the hermeneutics of suspicion. Under the roll call of "surface reading," purveyors of "post-critique" such as Stephen Best and Sharon Marcus have testified to a fatigue with that mode of "symptomatic reading" that "argues that the most interesting aspect of a text is what it represses" (2009, 3), suggesting that we redirect our attention to what texts display openly instead. In a similar vein, Rita Felski stresses the limits rather than the potentials of critique, and calls upon us to pay more attention to the enjoyments literary works can provide. In the wake of New Historicism, too much emphasis has been placed on context, these critics insist, and too little attention has been paid to the intrinsic features by means of which texts set up transtemporal relations by engaging readers affectively across time (Felski 2015, 151-185).

At first glance, this neo-aesthetic program may seem innocuous enough, but it is hardly an ideologically innocent move. Recommitting to a care for aesthetic phenomena, Felski suggests, would be a means to deal more sympathetically with the concerns of "the ordinary reader" (2015, 66), surely an egalitarian aim worth pursuing. Yet as Best argues in a sympathetic discussion of Felski's work, doing so must entail systematically confronting the dialectic of "absorptive versus critical reading," of "first reading and second reading" (2017, 337). Critics should not dismiss the first "absorbed" reading of a text as ideologically duped, but strive to retain "a faith in what reveals itself in the first instance" (Best 2017, 342) so that the second, critical reading of the text stays true to the aesthetic experience characterizing the first. This mode of post-critique thus aims for a "sense of seeing with rather than seeing better" (342) than the literary text itself, which by means of displaying what Paul Ricoeur calls "post-critical faith" (1977, 28) is reinstated as something of "a sacred object" (Best 2017, 341).

Post-criticism, then, would seem to force us back to a theological conception of literature resembling that of the New Criticism that New Historicism delivered us from. Equally problematic, it is by no means clear that the post-critical valorization of a "first," aesthetic, mode of reading, really breaks with the premises of the critical position it seeks to supplant. Indeed, as articulated in Jane Tompkins's highly influential Sensational Designs, for instance, the New Historicist position the post-critics denounce already invokes a version of the "first" reading valorized by Best. What the literary historian must learn, Tompkins insists in conclusion, is to have faith in the judgment of the text's first readers: "I do not say that we can read sentimental fiction exactly as Stowe's audience did--that would be impossible--but that we can and should set aside the modernist prejudices which consign this fiction to oblivion, in order to see how and why it worked for its readers, in its time, with such unexampled effect" (1986 128; emphasis added). Tompkins situates the first reading historically (invoking the original readers), Felski sociologically (the "ordinary" reader), Best phenomenologically (the involved reader), but all assume that the first reading of a text must somehow be more accurate than the supposedly distanced and critical reading performed by literary critics. Despite the heated polemics, it would thus not seem to make that big a difference whether we privilege the text or the context.

I will be arguing below that this valorization of a "first" and as it were "unsuspicious" reading is in fact based upon a misunderstanding of the temporality involved in literature, a misunderstanding the post-critics share with the critical position they seek to supplant. Rather than returning to an aesthetic faith in the literary text, I will suggest that the limitations of the New Historicist position may be more productively overcome by highlighting its implicitly rhetorical thrust, which is arguably what made New Historicism so productive in the first place.

Tompkins argues that literary texts matter insofar as they perform "a certain kind of cultural work within a specific historical situation" rather than "as attempts to achieve a timeless, universal ideal of truth and formal coherence," suggesting how literature not only represents but intervenes in society via "aspects of a social reality which the authors and their readers shared" (1986, 200; emphasis added)--the past tense implies that the reader that counts, for her, is already dead. Thus while critics influenced by the New Historicism often are very astute in discussing the cultural work literary texts performed in the historical situation of their original audiences, and often provide highly compelling accounts of the rhetorical dimension of this work, they frequently achieve this historicization of the literary text by suppressing the essential insight of the former New Criticism, namely that literary texts continue to address the reader in the present tense regardless of when s/he partakes of it. Reading, say, Uncle Tom's Cabin in 2019 is of course a very different experience from reading it upon its original publication in 1852, but the text itself pretends otherwise, as generations of readers who have read it and wept long after slavery was abolished can attest to. For this reason, the cultural work of a literary text is never complete: it is per definition unfinished work, because unlike other rhetorical propositions, those of literature are never fully of the moment in which they arise, but look always to that endlessly repeatable and yet singularly unique moment in which they are actualized in a reading.

If Tompkins could be said to ignore as much on the level of individual texts, she would seem to acknowledge it on a larger scale, in arguing cogently that literary history as such does not simply reflect the development of literature. On the contrary, she holds, it is a discipline formed by the way literature is read, proving her case by demonstrating how differently "American Literature" has been conceived in various anthologies over the years (1986, 186-201). Yet her one extended discussion of literary reception--"Masterpiece Theater: The Politics of Hawthorne's Literary Reputation" (Tompkins 1986, 3-39)--makes clear that she does not credit the literary text itself with much agency in this process. Hawthorne's central status in the American canon, she claims, has very little to do with "the essential greatness of his novels and stories" (4) but was almost entirely due to his connections to friends in high places, and the influence of their successors. One need not find her case convincing--a perusal of the contemporary reviews (Idol & Jones 1994) suggests that her account is highly tendentious--to appreciate it for reminding us that the historical situation that matters in literary studies is of a twofold nature: while it figures as a contextual framework that determines how literary works are written, this framework is itself nevertheless determined by the way literary works are read. (1)

We are confronted here with a paradox resembling the well-known controversy amongst contemporary rhetoricians concerning the concept of the rhetorical situation, which is marked by a similarly dual character. In Lloyd Bitzer's original definition, a rhetorical situation is "a complex of persons, events, objects, and relations presenting an actual or potential exigence which can be completely or partially removed if discourse, introduced into the situation, can so constrain human decision or action as to bring about the significant modification of the exigence" (1968, 6). Rhetorical discourse, Bitzer holds, is always preceded by three constituents, namely said exigence (or that "imperfection" which calls for a rhetorical response), the audience the discourse is directed to, and the constraints that apply to the rhetor and the audience. Bitzer thus sees the rhetorical discourse--the speech--as a response to a given situation, and it is indeed as such a tool for mapping the context of a given piece of rhetorical discourse that the concept is most frequently employed. Almost from the outset, however, Bitzer's explication of the rhetorical situation was criticized for a somewhat Platonizing conception of situations, and concomitantly, for failing to allow for the rhetor's agency. It simply is not true, Richard Vatz famously protested, that rhetoric is determined by situations, for situations do not arise independently of rhetorical discourse but are brought into being by it: "meaning is not discovered in situations, but created by rhetors" (1973, 157). In consequence, Vatz suggests Bitzer's argument should be inverted, so that whereas for Bitzer, rhetorical discourse obtains "its character-as-rhetorical from the situation which generates it" (1973, 3), for Vatz "situations obtain their character from the rhetoric which surrounds them or creates them" (1973, 159). (2)

The Bitzer/Vatz-debate thus presents us with two versions of constructivism, in which the polarity between the New Historicists and the defenders of New Aesthetic that I started out from is spelled out in nuce, if in rhetorical rather than literary terms. Stressing the agency of literature, the New Aestheticians like Vatz claim that historical context is shaped by literature rather than that literature is shaped by historical context; and while the New Historicists see writers' aesthetic choices as means to respond to specific historical situations, the New Aestheticians from their agential conception of literature see historical situations as at least in part products of the creative strategies writers employ to change the situations they find themselves in, and so on and so forth. The question, it seems, is what comes first, determining situation or creative rhetor. In fact, however, this is a moot point, since the usefulness of the concept of the rhetorical situation derives not from helping us explain temporal relations of cause and effect, but from helping us account for the structural relations between part and whole. By definition, the whole (situation) is of course always synchronous with its constitutive parts, and if it may seem otherwise, this is simply an effect of us making sense of this whole by presenting an account of how its parts are related to each other in the form of a story. It is because we have falsely--one might even say, theoretically--divided into parts what in practice is a whole, that the temptation to set out our explanation in terms of cause and effect is so strong. (3) By transforming a phenomenal process, taking place in time, into a linguistic story about entities existing in space (rhetor, discourse, audience), we delude ourselves into thinking that the relation between them is of a temporal nature. But linguistic temporality is of a wholly different order than its phenomenal counterpart, in that its priorities depend not upon temporal but logical precedence--think for instance of how the verb at the end of German sentences takes priority over everything that has been said before. The failure to distinguish properly between phenomenal and structural temporality (only the second of which matters in reading), is liable to produce confusions of all sorts, including the postcritical notion that returning to aesthetics would allow us to avoid being implicated in the ideological dimension of reading.

The temporality of what we may term literary situations is thus in fact always something of a ruse, in that the acts of writing and reading, even when they may in practice be separated by hundreds of years, in a structural sense must be thought of as simultaneous. The actual writer of course cannot control how future readers perform the text, yet he or she can no more avoid consciously or unconsciously adapting the story told to an imagined reader, than speakers can avoid betraying what kind of audience they think they are addressing by the manner of their performance. In this sense, the reader or audience of a text is already present in the very act of writing. As Henry James puts it in an essay on George Eliot: "In every novel the work is divided between the writer and the reader; but the writer makes the reader very much as he makes his characters" (1908, 18). Just as the orator prepares a speech with a specific audience in mind, the writer thus prepares the text for a specific--if often imaginary--reader. In both cases, this preparatory conception of an imagined audience is also an attempt to create the audience or reader addressed. Conversely, the reader cannot know what the actual writer sought to achieve through the text, yet cannot avoid imagining some more or less determining figure behind the text. While the Author as institution may be dead, Roland Barthes notes, "I desire the author: I need this figure... as he needs mine" (1990, 27). Through studying how the text stages this imagined relation between writer, text, and reader we can explore how the literary situation set up through the text asks to be believed: What must the world be like for this particular text to perform its cultural office? And equally important: What part do our reactions to the text play in that design?

Below I will suggest that such a shift of focus, from text to situation, may have important implications for our understanding of American literary history. To that end, I will consider two remarkable rhetorical performances, both from 1863: Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address and Nathaniel Hawthorne's prefatory remarks to his series of travel sketches from England, dated July 2, but published several weeks later. As an exemplary instance of rhetorical persuasion, Lincoln's address is often seen as determining our understanding of a central event of American history, namely the Civil War. Though not nearly as generally known, the preface meanwhile has been widely used to confirm the received view of the war's impact upon American literary history, for it has been read as the ultimate proof that the Civil War effectually rendered Hawthorne's mode of imaginative writing obsolete (see for instance Bercovitch 1988, 15; Masur 1993, 163; Gollin 2005, 178; Tamarkin 2007, 79). Lincoln's address and Hawthorne's preface thus suggest the discursive parameters within which the Civil War tends to be understood, making them a suggestive entry point for considering how the concept of the rhetorical situation can be a means to account for the peculiar temporality involved in situations of literature.


In the midst of an ongoing Civil War, Abraham Lincoln travelled six hours by train from Washington, DC to the small town of Gettysburg, to participate in the memorial services for the almost eight thousand men killed in the battle. In fact, he made sure to go one day early to be certain to arrive at the scene in time. There, on November 19, 1863, he listened to a prayer, several pieces of music, and a two-hour oration by Edward Everett, the main speaker of the program. His own Dedicatory Remarks lasted some two minutes, and were followed by a Dirge and a Benediction. He returned to the capital the following day, after another six-hour journey. (4)

That Lincoln willingly went to such lengths to deliver his famously brief Gettysburg Address shows how well he understood that the persuasive force of his words depended less upon himself than upon the situation. His time, for that matter, proved well-invested for the 271 words of the address have become perhaps the most famous in American political history. (5) Faced with the prospect of rationalizing the many deaths at Gettysburg, Lincoln boldly chose to disclaim the redemptive power of words altogether. Nothing that he could say could make up for the loss, he suggested; his words were naught compared to the deeds performed by the soldiers who fought the battle: "The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Lincoln may not have anticipated the importance that subsequent generations have attributed to his remarks, but he would have been aware that casting his words as powerless turned them into a deed that would have a powerful impact upon the historical situation. While belittling the power of words, the Gettysburg address is thus in truth an eloquent reminder of their potency. It is through words that Lincoln restores faith in the Union, and through words that he instills faith in the notion that the death of the individual should be read as the rebirth of the Nation. It is likewise through words that he draws upon and furthers that faith in a specifically American ethos that remains very much in office to this day.

Rhetorical tradition provides many tools to unveil the manner in which language is employed to call forth such faith, the rhetorical name for which is pistis (Greek for faith, belief, or conviction). We could do worse than begin by drawing upon the partes reminding us of the processual nature of rhetorical composition: invention, disposition, elocution, memorization, and delivery. Since we are not privy to Lincoln's actual performance, I shall leave the last two without consideration here. (6) The remaining three aspects generate a set of questions which will suffice for our purposes: What does the speech say and to whom is it addressed (inventio)? How is it arranged (disposition What elocutionary means are employed to enhance the argument's persuasiveness (elocutio)? (7)

The exigence of the situation--the imperfection Lincoln set out to right by means of his discourse--is easily enough adumbrated. Fought over three days, July 1-3, 1863, the battle of Gettysburg was not only the biggest confrontation of the war but, many have felt in retrospect, quite possibly the most pointless. When Robert E. Lee's Confederate army retreated on July 4, the Northern press was quick to herald it as a decisive victory, but it soon became clear that it was more of a lost opportunity. Had the Northern Commander in Field, General George Meade, pursued the retreating rebel army it might well have proved the fatal blow to the Southern forces it was initially reported as in the Northern press. But Meade did nothing, allowing Lee's forces to return to home-base, considerably ruffled but far from beaten. In fact, Lee declared the battle a success for the South, as well he might, given that the blow to the Northerners had been just as big. Historians still debate the effects of the battle, and whether or not it deserves to be called a turning-point of the war; but for certain, the war dragged on almost two years more (Eicher 2001, 550; Hattaway and Jones 1983, 415). By the time Lincoln gave his speech it was long known that Gettysburg was not the decisive win the Northern public had hoped for, but something closer to a potentially morale-breaking monstrosity of a battle which seemed to have been fought to no end at all. Lincoln, then, was faced with the task of providing a purpose not only for the lives that had been lost, but for the war as such. A look at the disposition and language of the speech informs us of how he met those situational demands.

The exordium, or very beginning of the speech--the introduction to its introduction, as it were--prepares the audience to hear the speaker's arguments in a favorable frame of mind. In this part of the speech, the speaker needs to overcome three potential obstacles: the risk that the audience questions his authority, the risk that they question his trustworthiness, and the risk that they suspect him of not wanting what is best for them. Lincoln's first sentence answers all of these demands at once: "Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." While the ongoing conflict undercuts his presidential authority, he cleverly reinforces it by invoking instead that of the founding fathers, and at the same time establishes himself as trustworthy and of good will by presenting the democratic principle "that all men are created equal" as the founding idea to which the "new nation" for which he speaks is "dedicated." The initial periphrasis, "four score and seven years ago" for "eighty-seven" in combination with the slightly archaic diction of the sentence lends a Biblical ring to the words, implying that they rest upon an even greater authority than that of history.

The second paragraph of the speech constitutes the narratio, the function of which is to set the stage for the propositio, its proposition or thesis. In four short sentences, Lincoln reminds the audience of the occasion of the speech. Ostensibly, he is merely recounting the facts: a civil war is going on; this is one of the sites of that war; the purpose of the gathering is to dedicate a part of that site to the memory of the soldiers. In truth, he is carefully telling those facts in the form of a story which will constrain the audience to see the issue at hand from a certain perspective:
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation,
or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are
met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a
portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here
gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting
and proper that we should do this.

This story is a great deal more artful than its matter-of-fact tone and language suggest--indeed, the inconspicuous and rather mundane language might well be a means to mask what is in fact a radical rephrasing of the roots of the war. Carefully avoiding any mention of bloodshed and conflicting interests, the war is portrayed as something of a social experiment, a scientific testing of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. (8) The ostentatious mode predominates--Lincoln's words point in order to "that nation," "that war," "that field," and finally to "that nation" once more, giving the impression of an unbiased account of factual circumstances. In fact, however, the repeated use of the indexical "that" is a subtle means to ensure that the audience sees the situation the way Lincoln wants them to see it: for "that nation" does not refer to the United States in general, but to the United States of the founding fathers; "that war" is not any conception of the Civil War, but that which Lincoln has just delivered, according to which the war tests the longevity of the principle of the founding fathers; "that field" is not so much the field where thousands of men died for little reason, but the field in which the war seen as social experiment is acted out; "that nation," repeated, is not just the America of the founding fathers, but the promise of a future for the Utopian project which is America. When the final sentence of the narratio declares how "fitting and proper" it is that a memorial be dedicated to men who fought to uphold such principles, the logic may seem impeccable, yet Lincoln's account has been highly tendentious. (9)

The propositio that follows is, in all its simplicity, calculated to wrest the audience from complacency by shocking them with the statement that the act that they have been brought to see by Lincoln's words as "fitting and proper," is not possible: "But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate--we can not consecrate--we can not hallow--this ground." By means of this negative thesis, thrice repeated, Lincoln cleverly disrupts the note of equilibrium upon which the narratio ends. Its performative force is thus considerable: what was an actual, historical conflict, involving different people, has become a symbolic, textual conflict, based upon words. Real conflicts call for real resolutions; symbolic conflicts can be handled more effectively, as Lincoln goes on to demonstrate.

In rapid succession follows the argumentatio, the arguments supporting the thesis, which Lincoln briskly sets out in three sentences. Those who fought have already consecrated the grounds: Lincoln's words will be nothing next to their deeds. The only real way to honor the participants, the only real way to dedicate the grounds to the men who fought there, therefore, is to continue what they were doing. In practice Lincoln is thus admonishing the audience to continue fighting and killing until there is a conclusive victory, but he phrases it rather differently: "It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced."

In setting out this argument, Lincoln is forwarding his own line of reasoning by carefully having his words meet the constraints of the situation. Lincoln notably refuses to make a distinction between those who took part in the battle: all are said to have "nobly advanced" the unfinished work of testing the longevity of the Declaration of Independence, no matter what side they fought on. Lincoln's reasoning here is partly strategic, partly decorous. As prospective President of the re-United States, he has every interest to minimize the distance between the factions of the country presently at war with each other, and thus stands little to gain by depicting the Southerners as less noble than the Northerners. Furthermore, decorum demands that memorial speeches for the dead are respectful of the departed--it would not do to differentiate between the deceased at a moment like this. But quite regardless of why Lincoln fails to distinguish between the two sides, the consequences are radical: fighting for an ideal, it would seem, is always noble.

The speech concludes with a remarkable one-sentence peroratio, or conclusion, the office of which is to quickly run through the main points of the speech once more, with added emotional intensity so as to bring the thesis home to the audience. The word "that" is used almost as frequently in this sentence (five times) as in the narratio (six times), but here it is used indexically only once ("that cause"). Instead of modifying nouns, "that" now is used as a conjunction introducing the outcome to be expected from exerting such dedication, echoing the declarative tone of the Declaration of Independence itself:
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining
before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to
that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that
we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in
vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of
freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the
people, shall not perish from the earth.

In the opening sentence of this speech dedicated to the men who died, Lincoln carefully includes a reference to the history of the Union, to "a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." It is only in the peroratio that the full significance of this remark becomes clear, where Lincoln explains "that these dead shall not have died in vain," but "that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth" (emphasis added). Literal death is thus figuratively turned into a prerequisite for life, and the literal death of thousands of individuals can be motivated as an act dedicated to the ideal that the Union is seen as embodying. From such a perspective, the Civil War is no longer a series of senseless killings, but a necessary step serving to perfect the spirit of the Revolutionary War. The antithesis between words and deeds governing the speech is notably also one offense: "what we say" (in the present), is of little value compared to "what they did" (in the past). The present thus appears defective in comparison to the past, as if somehow intrinsically flawed. To repair that flaw, not only must words be replaced by acts, those acts must be directed at the future rather than the present. Cast as a mere repository for the ideals of a near-perfect past and an equally idealized future, the actual circumstances of the present can thereby be overlooked.

Few critics would dispute the cultural centrality of Lincoln's performance. Just how one articulates this cultural influence, depends partly upon how one conceives of the rhetorical audience of the text. The original response to the speech seems to have been respectful, rather than enthusiastic. "There was no applause when he stopped speaking," an eyewitness, Mrs. Sarah A. Cooke Myer, recalled in her written recollections, though that was almost seventy years after the event (Hark 1932). Reporting on the event the day after it took place, the New York Times indicated that Lincoln's speech was interrupted five times by applause and was followed by "long continued applause"; but, then, the Times supported Lincoln. By all accounts, Lincoln spoke clearly, loudly, and most importantly slowly enough for a great number of reporters to telegraph the entirety of Lincoln's speech, more or less accurately rendered, on the very day the Address was given (Barton 1950; Reid 1967). Evidently, Lincoln was anxious to communicate his speech not just to the crowd present, but to the American nation as a whole. If that was the case, the speech was a success, for regardless of its original reception, its stature grew steadily and has continued to do so over the years. Garry Wills goes so far as to claim that the Gettysburg Address in effect provided Americans with a "new constitution" (1992, 38), subservient to the Declaration of Independence. (10) "With his carefully crafted two-minute speech at Gettysburg, the best political address in the nation's history, Lincoln created a Nomos, a world of norms and meaning, for comprehending the mass slaughter on American soil" George P. Fletcher (2001, 35) agrees.

Wills and Fletcher are far from alone in singling out the speech as a pivotal text in American political history. American sociologist Robert Bellah influentially has argued that the Gettysburg Address marks the textual locus at which "a new theme of death, sacrifice, and rebirth" (1967, 10) enters what he has called the American civil religion. From this perspective, the speech not only draws upon the fundamental doxa of American society, its commonly shared opinions and beliefs, but changes them from within. Whether this is actually the case or not, such contentions clearly go beyond the historicism Tompkins champions, which conceives of the historical audience of a literary work as the one that was present on its original publication. Bellah, Fletcher, and Wills, in contrast, all clearly operate with the notion that the audience of Lincoln's speech cannot be restricted to its contemporary audience, quite regardless of whether that is seen as merely those present when the speech was given, or as the extended audience it reached in the form of reports. With Bitzer himself, they all imply that Lincoln's "address continues to have profound rhetorical value precisely because some features of the Gettysburg situation persist; and the Gettysburg Address continues to participate with situation and to alter it" (Bitzer 1968, 10). Anyone, these critics suggest, can stand with the crowd at Gettysburg and feel the power of the President's words--their persuasive force lifts this moment out of time, as it were, making it a moment for all times.

Those acquainted with the western rhetorical tradition are unlikely to find this surprising; in a discipline where the ability to imitate and emulate one's predecessors has always been deemed central, it goes almost without saying that speeches communicate across time. (11) Clearly, then, literary texts are not the only ones that come with a transtemporal dimension, nor does that dimension seem exclusively dependent upon our aesthetic response to the text, as Felski (2015) seemingly suggests. In a sense, the transtemporal dimension of Lincoln's text may seem almost accidental, the result, simply, of the speech being read over and over again across time. Lincoln himself certainly does not seem to have singled out the Gettysburg Address as especially important among his speeches, and it was in fact only toward the end of the nineteenth century that it became enshrined as the central document of American political history it is known as today (Boritt 2006, 175-186). That said, its attraction to readers beyond its original audience depends to no small extent on the way it presents its own moment of enunciation as a temporal monad, as it were, inoculated from historical change. Its future directed course is built into its declarative assertions; it is a speech that points beyond the catastrophic past it pretends to talk about by declaring what "shall" and "shall not" be. As a prime example of the persuasive rhetor, Lincoln as it were makes of the moment he inhabits a mirror that will always reflect the future he already projects, and invites the reader to join him in looking into that mirror. His speech is so designed that whenever one glances back at the moment of its delivery, one will see reflected in it, not the past as it once existed, but one's own image idealized into the vision of a glorious past which is yet to come--evidently a tempting vision for a nation seeking a leading role in the world.


If Lincoln is remembered today as a kind of late founder of the America he suggestively portrayed as enjoying a new birth of freedom through the carnage of the Civil War, he was less flatteringly portrayed by Nathaniel Hawthorne, who took a much more active interest in the conflict than he has generally been credited for. On visiting the White House in March 1862, he provided an outline of Uncle Abe, as he referred to him, which his publisher James T. Fields found so disconcerting he made sure to suppress it for almost a decade, printing it only in his retrospective memoir, Yesterdays with Authors (1871). The description seems innocuous enough today; most likely Fields saw best to repress it because it occurred in an essay in which Hawthorne had the audacity to suggest that perhaps it would not be such a bad thing to let the Southern states secede after all--"Heaven was Heaven still, as Milton sings, after Lucifer and a third part of the angels had seceded from its golden palaces" (23:.442). (12) "Chiefly About War-Matters," the sketch in question, appeared in the July Atlantic Monthly, 1862, attributed to "a Peaceable Man." But it was no secret who the real author was--Hawthorne had been named as the author in advertisements for the issue in other magazines--and the article immediately caused offence (Woodson 1995, 689).

No less controversial was Hawthorne's decision in July 1863 to dedicate his volume of sketches from England to a former American president, Franklin Pierce. A close friend of Hawthorne's since their studies at Bowdoin in the 1820s, Pierce entrusted Hawthorne with writing his campaign biography when he ran for the Presidency in 1852; when he won, he repaid the favor by awarding Hawthorne the American consulship in Liverpool, a position the latter held till 1857. If it had not been for Pierce, Hawthorne reasoned, his sketches of life in England would never have existed. Yet by the time Hawthorne published them, the very qualities that had won Pierce the election a decade earlier--in particular his willingness to take a lenient attitude to Southern interests--had made him fall into public disrepute. To make matters worse, in the fall of 1861 Pierce was embroiled in charges of conspiring to overthrow the government; he was innocent, but the charge was hard to shake (Nichols 1958, 519-20; Reynolds 2008, 6). Understandably, Fields was worried the dedication might spoil sales. Hawthorne, however, persisted, arguing that Pierce's unpopularity made it more important for someone close to the ex-president to publicly stand up for him.

When Our Old Home was published in the fall of 1863, it was duly prefaced with a dedication to Pierce, followed by a short introductory piece entitled "To a Friend," which, in marked contrast to Lincoln's speech, at first sight does not seem to be making an argument at all. Under the pretext of dedicating the book to an old friend, the piece seems merely to introduce the sketches contained within it and to explain their background. They were, the second paragraph states, really "intended for the side-scenes and backgrounds and exterior adornment of a work of fiction" he had planned to write, but has given up hope of ever accomplishing:
The Present, the Immediate, the Actual, has proved too potent for me.
It takes away not only my scanty faculty, but even my desire for
imaginative composition, and leaves me sadly content to scatter a
thousand peaceful fantasies upon the hurricane that is sweeping us all
along with it, possibly, into a Limbo where our nation and its polity
may be as literally the fragments of a shattered dream as my unwritten
Romance. (Hawthorne 5:4)

This spectacular admission of defeat, which critics have surprisingly hastened to read literally, is followed by two more paragraphs. The first explains that the sketches of England inevitably reflect the fact that the artist is "an American" (5:4); the second concludes the piece by emphatically expressing Hawthorne's unwavering faith in Pierce's steadfast loyalty to the "grand idea of an irrevocable Union" (5:5).

Generically, then, "To a Friend" belongs to the forensic genre, its overall purpose apparently being to defend the character of Pierce. Its strategy, however, seems unorthodox, for save his own testimony in the concluding paragraph, Hawthorne provides no evidence of Pierce's unwavering patriotism. Moreover, only the first and last paragraphs make an effort to uphold the pretense that we are partaking of something else but the author's introductory notes to the book any reader might read. More curious still, Hawthorne throughout oddly belittles the work at hand, referring to it as a "slight volume" (5:3) of "poor sketches" (5:4) that will hardly be of much interest to a statesman such as Pierce, since they deal neither with policy nor government, and "have very little to say about the deeper traits of national character" (5:3). Structurally, too, the piece seems loose to the point of aimlessness. Its four paragraphs, comprising 920 words divided into twenty-two carefully constructed sentences ranging in length from twelve to ninety words, carry Hawthorne's mark insofar as they make for "most delectable reading," as Henry James said of the volume as a whole (1879, 150), but they do not at first sight add up to a sustained argument. Instead of a clear movement from exordium through peroratio, over which stretch a negative feeling is transformed into a positive one by the aid of a single propositio, we have what appears to be four relatively self-contained paragraphs, each of which deals with a new topic: first the writer greets his friend, then he speaks about his aborted romance, then he comments on the sketches as such, and finally he attests to his friend's loyalty to the idea of the Union.

But already when we observe that the first paragraph begins by addressing the Friend as a public person--"my dear General" (5:3)--while the last one addresses him as a private individual--"my dear friend" (5:5)--we should begin to suspect that the piece is arranged to a very specific end. Indeed, the piece seems expressly designed to deal with the exigence of the situation Hawthorne found himself in, by turning its constraints into means to put a message across to the specific rhetorical audience he is anxious to address. Evidently, Hawthorne wanted to associate his failure to complete his romance with the ongoing Civil War, or he would not have placed as much emphasis upon this point. We must also observe that the piece serves to introduce two works at once, the actual book of English sketches and the unwritten romance Hawthorne takes the opportunity to declare aborted. By framing both with a direct address to Pierce, Hawthorne subtly suggests how his imagination is conditioned by the politics of the hour.

The very first sentence implicitly contrasts imaginative and political writing by suggesting that Hawthorne had "long desired to connect your name with some book of mine" (5:3), even though it was no secret that he had written Pierce's campaign biography, The Life of Franklin Pierce (1852). Despite the appearance of his name on the cover, then, the biography apparently is not ascribable to him as an author; Our Old Home, in contrast, is, placing it unquestionably among Hawthorne's literary output. Like all of Hawthorne's prefaces, "To a Friend" thus serves also as a defense of the work it introduces, pre-emptively pointing out its defects while suggesting how they may be repaired.

This explains the otherwise perplexing strategy of belittling the achievement of the work at hand: it is a means to ensure that the reader approaches the text the way it is meant to be approached. Already in the sketch opening Mosses from an Old Manse, Hawthorne is at pains to explain to his "limited number of readers, whom I venture to regard rather as a circle of friends" (10:34), the circumstances under which the tales and sketches collected in it had been written. Not all of his readers appreciated this courtesy--Ralph Waldo Emerson, for one, complained that Hawthorne "invites his readers too much into his study, opens the process before them. As if the confectioner should say to his customers Now let us make the cake" [sic] (1971, 405). Yet Hawthorne found it necessary to do so because, as he explains in the preface to the 1851 edition of Twice-Told Tales, his work "requires to be read in the... atmosphere in which it was written," or "it is apt to look exceedingly like a volume of blank pages" (9:5). The reader, in short, must help the writer out, by granting him permission to depart from the realm of everyday truth in order that he may suggest a less obvious but perhaps more important kind of truth, involving the reader's own sympathy, or lack thereof. To this end, the reader must approach his work as "a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other" (1:36); recognize that when "a writer calls his work a Romance" (2:1) he is aiming for a different kind of truth than that conveyed in a novel; allow him "a license with regard to every-day Probability" (3:2) for the sake of artistic effect; in short, the reader should prove willing to act as "that one congenial friend" (4:1) which Hawthorne claims in the preface to The Marble Faun is the true recipient of all his works.

As the remarks introducing Our Old Home make evident, Hawthorne is reluctant to address this friend with an explicitly formulated proposal--his words are descriptive rather than declarative. Almost every sentence is conditional, or qualified as a subjective statement. The sole exception is the asyndeton that announces itself as the literal thesis of the piece through its mere brevity: "The Present, the Immediate, the Actual, has proved too potent for me." But this stark assertion seems merely half a thesis, for as soon as he starts to expand upon it, its air of immutability fades. The long sentence that follows begins by staking out the sad results of the too potent present, but two thirds into the account a "possibly" is inserted: "sweeping us all along with it, possibly, into a Limbo." Hovering at the edge of disaster, this one word opens up the future to an alternative to the Limbo which the sentence goes on to envision. Hawthorne, then, does not avert his gaze from the impending catastrophe, but stares straight at it. But having done so, in the paragraph's final sentence he asserts his intention to look beyond the gloomy evidence of the Present, going so far as to turn the very abortion of his projected "work of fiction" into a triumph of sorts: "But I have far better hopes for our dear country; and for my individual share of the catastrophe, I afflict myself little, or not at all, and shall easily find room for the abortive work on a certain ideal shelf, where are reposited many other shadowy volumes of mine, more in number, and very much superior in quality, to those which I have succeeded in rendering actual" (5:4). As an admission of defeat, it is as defiant a gesture as when Hester surrounds the scarlet letter she has been sentenced to wear "with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold-thread" (1:53): a gesture calculated to draw attention to the very failing one would expect the artist to be ashamed of.

The third paragraph continues the defense, but now on behalf of the "poor Sketches" that are actually presented in the book. The tone is as matter of fact as it is unsentimental. The "asperity of sentiment" some of his friends have accused him of presupposes that the sketches have been "written from a shallower mood" than Hawthorne is prepared to admit to. On the contrary, he insists that all of the sketches are informed by his "hereditary sympathies" (5:4) toward the English. He does, however, admit to having written as an American, and grants that he "may have said things which a profound observer of national character would hesitate to sanction" (5:5). But then, Hawthorne can hardly be blamed for not meeting the demands of such a profound observer, as he has already explained that he has been prevented by "the Present, the Immediate, the Actual" from conveying those deeper "modes of truth" that require a more imaginative method than the "direct effort" of the sketches permits. Even so, while the sketches may not be profound, they are true as far as they go: he has not said anything "that had not more or less of truth" (5:5), and if something is true, no one gains by it not being plainly stated.

With that testimony to his own truthfulness, Hawthorne has set the stage for his conclusion, in which he amply demonstrates that he, at least, is not afraid to speak the truth, even when that truth clashes with opinion, by publicly attesting to his faith in his "Friend":
with the record of your life in my memory, and with a sense of your
character in my deeper consciousness as among the few things that time
has left as it found them, I need no assurance that you continue
faithful forever to that grand idea of an irrevocable Union, which, as
you once told me, was the earliest that your brave father taught you.
For other men there may be a choice of paths--for you, but one; and it
rests among my certainties that no man's loyalty is more stedfast, no
man's hopes or apprehensions on behalf of our national existence more
deeply heartfelt, or more closely intertwined with his possibilities
of personal happiness, than those of FRANKLIN PIERCE. (Hawthorne 5:5)

Following the advice of Fields, Hawthorne notably does not say whether he himself believes that the Union has a future or not. The original version more clearly expresses Hawthorne's distance from Pierce in this regard, in that he there admits that "I might even deem it allowable for myself, in the last resort, to be content with half the soil that was once our broad inheritance" (5:3, 60-61), much like he has already declared himself little afflicted by "the catastrophe" that has made him settle for a book of sketches instead of the "work of fiction" he had planned. Yet even as it stands, the dedication makes clear that from Hawthorne's point of view, Pierce's staunch fidelity to the idea of the Union must seem unrealistic if not downright detrimental. After all, the second paragraph indicates that Hawthorne gave up his efforts to turn the book into a romance as a result of the "hurricane" of the war. Pierce, in being steadfastly loyal to the idea of the Union that lies at the very heart of that hurricane, must thus be considered partly responsible, however indirectly, for shattering Hawthorne's projected romance. Remarkably, this in no way makes the author think worse of his friend. On the contrary, it would seem that his respect for his friend only grows stronger because Hawthorne recognizes the idealistic, if unrealistic, nature of his friend's attachment to the idea of the Union.

While the dedication seemed a provocation to many of Hawthorne's contemporaries who had come to see Pierce as a traitor of the Unionist cause, it is in fact directed to a Friend whose ideals are not shared by Hawthorne himself. Pierce is the literal friend in question, but allegorically the American public, too, fits the bill: "To a Friend" is addressed to an audience with which the speaker disagrees on matters of policy, but for whom he is nevertheless anxious to manifest his sympathy. In so doing, Hawthorne demonstrates a willingness to look beyond the immediate appearance of his friend, and put his faith instead in the existence of a more ideal character than meets the public eye. That demonstration of faith provides the unspoken second half of the thesis tersely suggested through the literal declaration that "the Present, the Immediate, the Actual, has proved too potent for me." In a piece suggesting that the actual text presented is not nearly as good as the Unwritten one it substitutes for, this literal statement invites us to trace within it the figurative outline of a question: Will the Present, the Immediate, the Actual, prove too potent for you, too, Gentle Reader?

In a way, then, Hawthorne's overall aim is not all that different from Lincoln's, only the situational constraints, which include not only his attitude toward the war but his artistic intent, force him to make his point in a very different manner. His romance, he claims, is a casualty of the war; like Lincoln, he needs to find a means to turn this tragedy into some future good. But as Hawthorne was deeply skeptical of the war, he cannot, as Lincoln does, present its extension as such a transformation, even should the "right" side win (while ardently defending the cause of the Northern States, Hawthorne seems to have held that there was no real right side in the war). Nor can he appeal to the doxa of the hour, since it is precisely this doxa that Hawthorne wants the reader to see differently; what matters to him is that the war be understood in a different way than it was being understood at the time, in order that one may avoid similar catastrophes in the future (cf. Ullen 2008). When Hawthorne declares himself "sadly content to scatter a thousand peaceful fantasies upon the hurricane that is sweeping us all along with it, possibly, into a Limbo where our nation and its polity may be as literally the fragments of a shattered dream as my unwritten Romance" (5:4), he may thus be read as presenting us with the possibility of piecing together the very idea of America as a democratic rather than aristocratic nation through piecing together the romance he presents as one of the victims of the war, if only in retrospect.

The romance in question was in fact no more unwritten than it provided the materials for not one but two posthumously published novels, Septimius Felton, or The Elixir of Life (1871) and Dr Grimshawe's Secret (1882). Since both have remained largely unread, one may consider "To a Friend" rhetorically unsuccessful, but that would not be entirely true. In reducing Hawthorne's late works to evidence of "a writer grown incompetent at the most elementary procedures of novelistic composition" (Brodhead 1986, 68), American critics found a way of accounting for Hawthorne's private imagination at the time without having to challenge the public understanding of the Civil War as tantamount to that "new birth of freedom" Lincoln so suggestively envisions. But unlike Lincoln's speech, Hawthorne's dedication does not seek to impress a specific understanding of the Civil War valid for all time. Its office, rather, is to provide us with an understanding of history that does not glorify the past in order to project a hopeful future, but presents the past as a problem that refuses to go away, and thus remains part of the present. In so doing, Hawthorne's preface suggests a conception of rhetorical agency very different from that of Lincoln's speech, a circumstance that calls for a few concluding remarks on the contrasting temporalities of the two literary situations with which we have been concerned.


As my above discussion has suggested, focusing on literary situations rather than on literary texts allows us to highlight the way our own understanding of text and context necessarily intervenes into them both. Our analysis thus effectively becomes a mode of metacommentary, directing "the attention back to history itself, and to the historical situation of the commentator as well as of the work" (Jameson 1971, 10). In proceeding from the literary situation rather than the text, we split authorial intention into two components: exigence (encoding the writer's response to a social situation), and constraints (encoding--among other things--the writer's biographical baggage, as it were). Everything that is connected to the writer--aesthetic outlook, ideological persuasion, artistic talent, etcetera; in short, the authorial self--from this perspective is always already part of the situation the rhetorical discourse responds to. The conceptual shift is thus a means to illustrate that while writers produce texts, they do so in response to historical situations, so that their texts become in effect "answers to questions posed by the situation in which they arose," as Kenneth Burke aptly puts it (1957, 1). We thus honor the deconstructive tenet that rhetorical intention is always impersonal: a property of language and situations expressing relations between subjects, rather than subjects per se.

The reader, meanwhile, as part of the audience of the text, is likewise already part of the rhetorical situation of literature, neither party of which can thus be said to take temporal precedence over the other. For that reason, there is little point in privileging first readings over later ones, or to assume that the original audience of a literary work would be either better fitted to realize, or more prone to misjudge, its implications than later ones. Lincoln's speech was reasonably successful when delivered, but compared with "the eminence the address later attained the immediate response necessarily seemed tepid" (Peterson 1994, 115). The reputation of the address was boosted by the veritable cult of Lincoln that set in only at the close of the nineteenth century, and produced such works as the ten-volume biography by Nicolay and Hay (Peterson 1994, 116-140)--the eighth volume of which explains that "the best critics have awarded it an unquestioned rank as one of the world's masterpieces in rhetorical art" (Nicolay and Hay 1904, 202). As such a "masterpiece," the Gettysburg Address has acquired the status, virtually, of "one of the great American poems" (Sandburg 1994, 779), which even in recent accounts is seen to "transcend the politics of the day even as [it] remain[s] firmly rooted in them" (Sundquist 1995, 296). This literary conception of Lincoln's speech is also a means to defuse its less pleasant ideological implications, as witness Gabor Boritt's claim that even though "the beauty of its language" shades "into the background" its "appeal to the use of force to defend democracy[,] Americans recognize fully the meaning of the Gettysburg Address when crises come." This "understanding can be misused," Boritt concedes (thinking perhaps of Vietnam or Iraq), but he immediately acquits Lincoln's rhetorical performance from having any part in such unwarranted extensions of its program, on the grounds that "its message of sacrificial redemption is for humankind" (2006, 202-203). Great literature, evidently, can do no wrong. This impression, I have sought to show above, is a consequence of the way Lincoln's speech presents itself as a moment transcending time in time, as it were, a moment that always looks toward the prospect of a glorious future on the strength of making itself subservient to an equally glorious past that is not open to questioning.

The literary situation set up by Hawthorne's text invites a contrasting way of relating to history, but this has rarely been acknowledged. His late works were originally met with considerable interest, but gradually acquired a reputation as something of "an aesthetic shambles" (Ullen & Greven 2009, 2). Ironically, it was Henry James, commonly recognized as Hawthorne's most important successor, who instigated this development, dismissing Septimius Felton on aesthetic grounds as an "essentially crude piece of work," the very ingredients of which "belongs to the fairy-tale period of taste" (1879, 178, 179). It was James, too, who devised the formula that allowed subsequent critics to evade rather than confront Hawthorne's suggestion that the Civil War made a mockery of the principles of democratic America. To James, "the Civil War marks an era in the history of the American mind" (144), in that it separates earlier Americans, whose "faith was a simple and uncritical one" (142), from more mature writers--like James himself--who have "eaten of the tree of knowledge" (144). As we have seen, "To a Friend" suggests that a democratic country such as America ought to be able to resolve social conflicts by means of interpretive negotiation rather than acts of violence; in making a mockery of this notion, the Civil War shattered this very idea of America. James, however, by portraying himself as having passed through "the very war of hermeneutics" (Ricoeur 1977, 56) fought on a national scale, writes this possibility off as an earlier mode of American innocence.

As these comments suggest, reception history can indeed help us understand how literary judgments fluctuate, as Tompkins suggests, but it cannot tell us why they do so unless we also allow for the possibility that the formal features of the literary works themselves play a decisive role in these fluctuations. Conversely, the post-critical strategy of highlighting the aesthetic response of readers without relating that response to the ideological aspects of the work in question will not suffice either, since there is no way of separating ideology from aesthetics and vice versa, as the examples I have discussed above make plain. We may, however, suggest how texts ask to be believed, that is, we may clarify what kind of co-operation given literary situations promote by accounting for the rhetorical machinery whereby they call forth this or that form of aesthetic faith. Taking the literary situation as one's object of analysis, is thus tantamount to seeking to determine the "knowledge effect" specific to literary discourse "by an understanding of its mechanism" to speak with Althusser (2015, 72).

Unravelling the mechanism of literary situations, it should be clear, does not involve an attempt to reveal some veiled truth of the text, regardless of whether this truth is conceived of as the writer's intention, an aesthetic construct, or an ideological interpellation. On the contrary, the starting point of my procedure has been that the text is an entirely neutral entity, which holds no value whatsoever apart from how it is used in concrete situations. At the same time, we have seen that those situations are inevitably of an ideological character, as they must always involve a negotiation of its dual temporal horizon, a negotiation, that is, of the relation between the rhetorical intention of its writer and the aesthetic perception of its readers.

Lincoln's and Hawthorne's dedications proceed in radically different ways in this respect. Whereas the former allows us to look back upon one of the bloodiest battles of US history as the promise of a brighter future, Hawthorne's preface, by declaring his own romance a victim of the war, encourages us to take a closer look at the catastrophic consequences of this historical event. In Lincoln's speech, emboldened as it is by the symbolic force of its author, what is transferred from the moment of its enunciation into the moment of its reception is not the material circumstances of the original rhetorical situation, but rather this situation idealized into an already accomplished movement: the storm of history transformed into progress, to paraphrase Walter Benjamin. Hawthorne's allegorical diction, in contrast, is designed to draw us as readers into the calamity of the past, and to make us realize that our understanding of that past still is a matter of the utmost urgency: an exigence calling for rhetorical response. In literary situations of this kind, the reader is thus endowed with something of the "weak messianic power" of Benjamin's angel of history (1969, 254), who in steadfastly looking back is able to draw the past into the present, thereby effectively opening present and past alike up to interpretation; for the kind of cultural work, that is, that must by necessity remain unfinished.


(1) In Reader-Response Criticism Jane Tompkins notably claims that her own critical practice is a mode of reader-response that "has come to occupy a position very similar to, if not the same as, that of the Greek rhetoricians" (1980, 226). The argument offered here should thus not be seen as a rejection of the New Historicist position I critique, but rather as an attempt to extend it.

(2) True to the pragmatic spirit of their discipline, many rhetoricians have opted for a compromise position, claiming that "Rhetorical art selects from Bitzerian givens with Vatzian art" (Fahnestock 2011, 332). Others have proposed that Lloyd Bitzer's original account be amended by adding the rhetor as a constituent of the rhetorical situation (see for instance Benoit 1994; Smith and Lybarger 1996; and Grant-Davie 1997), but this is to re-inscribe the concept into the phenomenological temporality it so usefully overcomes.

(3) The temptation to speak of structural relations in pseudo-temporal terms is well-known in studies of literary history; see for instance Paul de Man's acute observation that the "fundamental structure of allegory reappears [in romantic poetry] in the tendency of the language toward narrative, the spreading out along the axis of an imaginary time in order to give duration to what is, in fact, simultaneous within the subject" (1983, 225).

(4) My account of the factual circumstances surrounding the Gettysburg Address draws upon Gary Wills (1992) and Gabor Boritt (2006).

(5) The word count refers to the so-called Bliss-copy of the text, the last from Lincoln's hand. All subsequent references are to this version of the text, which is reprinted in Wills (1992, 263).

(6) Since news coverage of the event was extensive, the delivery could in principle be considered as well, but as the Address has come down to us as a text rather than a speech, I tacitly bypass that aspect here, although I agree in principle with Linda Selzer (1997) that this is a reductive approach.

(7) Here as elsewhere in my discussion of rhetorical terms and techniques, my exposition presents the received view in a field which takes pride in variety While the exact function of the exordium, for instance, is a matter of debate, its office is generally specified as being tripartite, a circumstance that suggests that, as so often in rhetoric, we are not dealing so much with a theoretically impeccable concept, as a mnemotechnic device. For fuller discussions of the terms, see Heinrich Lausberg (1998).

(8) This is Wills's suggestion: "He altered the document from within, by appeal from its letter to the spirit, subtly changing the recalcitrant stuff of that legal compromise, bringing it to its own indictment" (1992, 38).

(9) While the logic of Lincoln's argument is designed to seem impeccable, readers might of course still object to it; as Boritt (2006, 133-34) documents, several newspapers at the time did take exception with Lincoln's presentation.

(10) Selzer validly objects that Wills overplays Lincoln's agency, arguing that "only a full-fledged reception study of the Gettysburg Address could hope to explain the complex social process through which Lincoln's short speech at Gettysburg--summarized in some contemporary reports merely as the President's 'few remarks'--was to become canonized as the 'Gettysburg Address'" (1997, 133). My point here, however, is simply that Wills proceeds on the assumption that the speech addresses an audience beyond its original one.

(11) On the practice of imitatio and aemulatio, see for instance Gordon Williams (1978), especially chapters three and five.

(12) All references to Hawthorne's works are to The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne (1962-97), and are noted parenthetically in the text by volume and page number.


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MAGNUS ULLEN is Professor of English and Head of the English Department at Stockholm University, Sweden. He is the author of The Half-Vanished Structure: Hawthorne's Allegorical Dialectics (2004), and his articles have appeared in Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Critical Quarterly, Jump Cut, Studies in the Novel, New Literary History, Applied Linguistics and several other journals. Among his recent publications are "The Problem of Modernity: Hawthorne Criticism, Faith, and the Literary Situation" in Orbis Litterarum (2017), and the chapter on "Hawthorne's Unfinished Romances" in Hawthorne in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2018), edited by Monika Elbert.
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Title Annotation:ESSAYS
Author:Ullen, Magnus
Publication:College Literature
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Sep 22, 2019

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