Essays and Appreciations in Honor of Michael J. Colacurcio’s 50 Years of Teaching
JOHN P. MCWILLIAMS
Everyone interested in Hawthorne’s renderings of Puritanism—and every Americanist should be—owes an admiring debt to Michael Colacurcio. The Province of Piety (1984) was published at a time when adherents of the theory of American Romance still strove to elevate Hawthorne’s imaginative power by fictionalizing his history, while followers of Perry Miller’s grand scheme of the New England Mind, in which imaginative literature plays second fiddle to intellectual history, still sought to slight Hawthorne’s authority to pass judgment upon the spiritual past. To his great credit, Michael Colacurcio subscribed to neither of these positions. He went his own way, demonstrating a remarkable mastery of New England history, as well as great sensitivity to the imagery, tone and, yes, rhetoric, of Hawthorne’s fiction. His aim was clear, detailed and comprehensive illumination of Hawthorne’s best historical tales, both individually and in their interrelations.
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