Nonfiction > Carl Van Doren > The American Novel > Subject Index > Page 102
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · SUBJECT INDEX

Carl Van Doren (1885–1950).  The American Novel.  1921.


Page 102

unless they appear in carnival or procession. Learning and observation, indeed, went into the rich, smooth, trustworthy, and often penetrating descriptions which adorn the tale, but the atmosphere, when all is said, lacks the golden depth and substantial intimacy which Hawthorne had caught for The House of the Seven Gables. Though the Rome he saw was older than his Salem by millenniums to centuries, he had lived more years in Salem than months in Rome. The sole new quality he could impart to his Italian romance was the sense of crowds of people filling the scene, constantly stirring in variegated abundance, and providing a new privacy in the midst of which his important characters might take refuge. From these crowds the atmosphere derives more density than from the works of art and the landscapes, comments upon which just miss overloading the narrative. It is perhaps the best proof of Hawthorne’s capaciousness of mind that he could have admitted so much still life into his action without confusing it. Elaborate as the background is, and stiff and difficult as it must have been to handle, the few essential persons of the drama move as freely and naturally as in the earlier novels with their almost empty stages.
  The idea of the romance occurred to Hawthorne when he first saw the Faun of Praxiteles in the gallery at the Capitol and thought “that a story, with all sorts of fun and pathos in it, might be contrived on the idea of [the faun’s] species having become intermingled with the human race; a family with the faun blood in them having prolonged itself from the classic era till our own days.” Originally struck, it seems, by the fanciful possibilities of



CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · SUBJECT INDEX
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors