Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown – The Romanticism and Realism Essay

Hawthorne's Young Goodman Brown – The Romanticism and Realism Essay

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“Young Goodman Brown” – The Romanticism and Realism        

   The reader finds in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Young Goodman Brown” a mix of realism and romanticism, with the former dominating the latter.


Commenting on the presence of romanticism in Hawthorne’s short stories, Morse Peckham in “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism,” talks about the author’s usage of romantic themes:


In his early short stories and sketches Hawthorne was particularly concerned with three Romantic themes: guilt, alienation, and historicism. These three are so intimately intertwined in his work, as in most Romantics, that it is extremely difficult to separate them. . . .The Romantic historicist used the past for a double, interconnected purpose. On the one hand it was a means for separating oneself from society.. . . .He can be aware of the failure of the institution to fulfill its avowed intentions and its social function. . . . Romantic historicism, therefore, is never an end in itself but a strategy for placing the current social conditions in an ironic perspective. . . .(91-92)



Peter Conn in “Finding a Voice in an New Nation” comments on the blend of realism and romanticism in Hawthorne”s short stories:


Almost all of Hawthorne’s finest stories are remote in time or place. The glare of contemporary reality immobillized his imagination. . . .Hawthorne, however, despite his disclaimers, had long since discovered in the early history of his own New England the ruins and gloomy wrongs he found congenial. The elusive geography of romance, that lanscape in which imagination and reality could collaborate in acts of transformation, had perhaps disappeared f rom the bustling commercial world. . . but i...

... middle of paper ...

... Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.


Leavis, Q.D. “Hawthorne as Poet.” In Hawthorne – A Collection of Critical Essays, edited by A.N. Kaul. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966.


Melville, Herman. “Hawthorne and His Mosses,” The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850. http://eldred.ne.mediaone.net/nh/hahm.html


 “Nathaniel Hawthorne.” The Norton Anthology: American Literature, edited by Baym et al.  New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1995.


Peckham, Morse. “The Development of Hawthorne’s Romanticism.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.


Swisher, Clarice. “Nathaniel Hawthorne: a Biography.” In Readings on Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Clarice Swisher. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1996.





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