NOTES ON BOOKS

1880 Notes and Queries  
Co.) IT may, perhaps, be fairly presumed that this memoir is due rather to the availability of the distinguished American who prepared it than to any pressing prominence of Hawthorne in the ranks of English men of letters. But the author of the House of the Seven Galles is nevertheless one of the half-dozen great imaginative writers of the United States; and, in any case, it is matter for congratulation that the task of sketching his life has fallen to Mr. James. Not only has he that experience
more » ... he that experience of New England which, as he says, is indispensable to a proper appreciation of the subject, but his fine rather than forcible literary style is particularly suited to it. Here and there, indeed, we come upon a word too rudely earouring of the dictionary, but in no book, that we have recently read at all events, does one pause so frequently to note how precisely, with what a clear-sighted and nice sense of the value of the words, this or that paragraph is constructed. Mr. James attaches himself to the life rather than the books of Hawthorne, and leaves upon us a vivid impression at last of that shadow-loving, reticent, diffident personality, preoccupied always in imagination with the hard theology and Puritanic doctrines of the first New Bnglanders. The pages which treat of Hawthorne's brief sojourn with the Brook Farm Transcendentalists are full of interest, especially the reference to Landor's once famous friend, Margaret Fuller. 'The book is one that will send the reader to Hawthorne at once, if he does not already know him. We may note, en passant, that (if we lightly understand his words) Mr. James docs not seem aware that Hawthorne's early novel of Fanshawe has been republished, and is, we are informed, to be found in the British .Museum. (This has since been pointed out in other places, but we leave our notice as first written.)
doi:10.1093/notesj/s6-i.6.128-b fatcat:bxkjevjgjfdtpi5ygshkf4qkbe