Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Edwin Haviland Miller, Author University of Iowa Press $39.95 (596p) ISBN 978-0-87745-332-1
Mirroring the psychological complexity of Hawthorne's fiction, this superbly illuminating biography teases out the secrets of the writer's anguished soul. An almost pathologically shy Customs House measurer, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) is portrayed as an agnostic given to suicidal despair, a passive parent and a quiet egomaniac with a powerful narcissistic craving for fame and immortality. Unable to communicate love, at four years old wounded by his father's death at sea, burdened with repressed sexual conflict, Hawthorne mined his unconscious in a fictive universe fraught with incest, voyeurism, matricide, patricide and male terror of sexuality. In the fullest picture of Hawthorne's personal life to date, Miller ( Melville ) traces the connections between the novelist's veiled conflicts and the symbolic inner landscape of his fiction. Photos. Readers Subscription Book Club main selection. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 648 pages - 978-0-87745-381-9
Open Ebook - 643 pages - 978-1-58729-152-4
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