To Myself a Stranger: A Biography of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop

Patricia Dunlavy Valenti, Author Louisiana State University Press $35 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8071-1612-8
Rose, the youngest child of Nathaniel Hawthorne, was 13 when her father died in 1864. His presence in her early life became a heritage that was both burden and inspiration to her in the many turns of her later years. As this excellent biography discloses, Rose began to make her own mark when in her 40s. Before that, there were the peregrinations of the Hawthorne family, always on the brink of penury; Rose's attempts at a writing career; and marriage, at age 20, to George Parsons Lathrop, a successful author. As a literary couple the Lathrops frequented the salons of New York City in the 1880s, and Rose was exposed to the currents of feminism by such advocates as Emma Lazarus. Confounding many, the Lathrops converted to Catholicism in 1891. When their marriage disintegrated in 1896, Rose began her landmark work--running a tenement hospice for terminally ill cancer patients; at the time, the disease was considered contagious. Eventually Rose and her followers established a religious community which maintains highly regarded hospices today. Valenti, a professor at Pembroke State University in North Carolina, illuminates a pioneering woman and establishes her position among the accomplished Hawthornes. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Paperback - 220 pages - 978-0-8071-2473-4
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