Authors & Events
Nov 01, 1990
| ISBN 9780140390773
Nov 01, 1990
| ISBN 9781101153659
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Nov 01, 1990 | ISBN 9780140390773
Nov 01, 1990 | ISBN 9781101153659
Hawthorne’s novel of Americans abroad, the first novel to explore the influence of European cultural ideas on American morality. Although it is set in Rome, the fictive world of The Marble Faun depends not on Italy’s social or historical significance, but rather on its aesthetic importance as a definer of ‘civilization’. As in The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne is concerned here with the nature of transgression and guilt. A murder, motivated by love, affects not only Donatello, the murderer, but his beloved Miriam and their friends Hilda and Kenyon. As he explores the reactions of each to the crime, Hawthorne dramatizes both the freedoms a new cultural model inspires and the self-censoring conformities it requires. His examination of the influence of European culture on American travellers lay the groundwork for such later works of American fiction as Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad and Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady.
Hawthorne’s final novel is a provocative look at American artists abroad and a groundbreaking exploration of the influence of European thought on American morality that anticipates the work of Henry James, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway, among others. The story of the mysterious, tormented Miriam, her friends Kenyon and Hilda, their alluring Italian acquaintance, the faunlike Donatello, and the crime that irrevocably links them all is, says Peter Robb, “a surprising drama, one that recalls nothing so much as American noir of a hundred years later . . . driven by the powerful and unfaltering engines of sex and violence.”This Modern Library Paperback Classic uses the definitive text as prepared for The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1805–64) was an American novelist and short story writer. He was born in Salem, Massachusetts, and graduated from Bowdoin College. His first novel, Fanshawe, was published anonymously in 1828, followed by several collections of short stories, including Twice-Told Tales and Mosses from an… More about Nathaniel Hawthorne
“Describ[es] Rome and Italian scenes as few others have.” —Anthony Trollope
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