Essays and Appreciations in Honor of Michael J. Colacurcio’s 50 Years of Teaching
Remembering the Puritans: Hawthorne and the Scene of History89
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Remembering the Puritans: Hawthorne and the Scene of History
MICHAEL J. COLACURCIO
Like the man said, Poetry is more philosophical than History. Not that we still care that much about philosophy: most people would agree with my post-Jesuit brother who defines it as that one thing with or without which everything else remains the same. Or poetry either, for that matter, as the enrollments in our English classes will testify: long lines for the American novel; for any period of American verse, not so much. But still we appear to take the point: literature—though Aristotle hardly had that concept—can hardly afford to care about the over-determining details of one singular event; give us, if not the generalization, then at least the present application. Especially in a classroom situation: Hawthorne’s once-famous “ambivalence” about his Puritans and his Revelers is more likely to generate enthusiasm than a cautious account of how his self-proclaimed “allegory” appeared in fact to assemble itself out of a series of footnotes to William Bradford.
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