Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Marble Faun (1860) is Hawthorne's last completed and longest romance—his term for the type of non-realist, symbolic, and psychological fiction he preferred to write. Composed during and after his and his family's travels in Europe following his political patronage appointment as American consul … Continue reading Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne My rating: 5 of 5 stars Preface What is The Scarlet Letter about? Generations of confused American students want to know! This short 1850 historical novel, written by a middle-aged and modestly successful short story writer and lately deposed customs inspector, tells a tale of crime and punishment in … Continue reading Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville My rating: 5 of 5 stars [Note: all quotations from essays, letters, and reviews below come from documents included in this Norton Critical Edition.] In his 1850 manifesto-essay in praise of Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Hawthorne and His Mosses," Herman Melville scorns the Anglophile polish and traditionalism of Washington Irving, then considered the … Continue reading Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood

Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor My rating: 4 of 5 stars It's considered an absolute necessity these days for writers to have compassion. Compassion is a word that sounds good in anybody's mouth and which no book jacket can do without. It is a quality which no one can put his finger on in any … Continue reading Flannery O’Connor, Wise Blood