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The Half-Vanished Structure

Hawthorne’s Allegorical Dialectics

Magnus Ullén

This book takes issue with the tendency in twentieth-century Hawthorne-criticism to blur the distinction between symbolism and allegory. Rejecting the long-standing notion that Hawthorne is a symbolist in allegorical disguise, Ullén argues that allegory is the key to understanding how religion, sexuality, aesthetics and politics are interwoven in Hawthorne’s writings.
The study presents a model for allegorical interpretation of general applicability, which is brought to bear on each of Hawthorne’s mature romances, and on the oft-neglected Wonder Books written for children. An unparalleled analysis of the formal intricacies of Hawthorne’s writings, this book is an eloquent plea for the necessity of grounding ideological analysis in aesthetical considerations.
Contents: Introduction – In Defence of Allegory – «This Fearful Sympathy»: Hawthorne’s Allegory of the Fortunate Fall – The Scarlet Letter: The Office of Art – The House of the Seven Gables: Pictures Out of Sunshine – The Wonder Books – The Blithedale Romance: Translating the Spirit – The Marble Faun: Recovering the Sacred Candlestick – Conclusion: Hawthorne’s Allegorical Dialectics.