Tuesday, December 19, 2006

CitizenSE's Top Ten Hawthorne Tales/Sketches

A Japanese literature scholar recently asked me to send him my personal top 10 list of favorite Hawthorne tales and sketches. For this post, I decided to divide it into separate top 10s for historical tales, non-historical tales, and sketches, because I'm just that decisive. I'm ranking them in order of interest to me, not necessarily from "best" down. I'd be happy to explain my choices in the comments area, should someone actually post a comment....

CitizenSE's Top 10 Historical Hawthorne Tales

1. Young Goodman Brown
2. Roger Malvin's Burial
3. My Kinsman, Major Molineux
4. The May-pole of Merry Mount
5. The Gentle Boy
6. The Minister's Black Veil
7. Endicott and the Red Cross
8. The Gray Champion
9. Alice Doane's Appeal
10. Drowne's Wooden Image

Honorable Mention: "The Great Carbuncle," "The Man of Adamant," "Legends of the Province-House," "The Wives of the Dead," "Wakefield," various tales from The Whole History of Grandfather's Chair

CitizenSE's Top 10 Non-Historical Hawthorne Tales

1. The Birth-mark
2. Rappaccini's Daughter
3. Egotism, or the Bosom-Serpent
4. Ethan Brand
5. The Celestial Rail-road
6. The Artist of the Beautiful
7. Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe
8. The New Adam and Eve
9. The Christmas Banquet
10. The Great Stone Face

Honorable Mention: "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," "Peter Goldthwaite's Treasure," "The Snow-Image," "The White Old Maid"

CitizenSE's Top 10 Hawthorne Sketches

1. Earth's Holocaust
2. The Procession of Life
3. Old News
4. Main-street
5. A Bell's Biography
6. The Hall of Fantasy
7. The Intelligence Office
8. Time's Portraiture
9. The Sister Years
10. A Virtuoso's Collection

Honorable Mention: "The Village Uncle," "A Rill from the Town Pump," "P's Correspondence," "Fire-Worship," "Fancy's Show Box," "The Haunted Mind," "Monsieur du Miroir," "Foot-prints on the Sea-shore," various biographical sketches of colonial figures

The upshot: buy the Library of America edition of Hawthorne's Tales and Sketches! If you only know him by his three novels from 1850-1852, you're missing out on his previous 20 years of literary output. And check out what Michael Colacurcio, Joel Pfister, Allison Easton, Neal Frank Doubleday, G.R. Thompson, Michael Dunne, Richard Millington, and other good readers of Hawthorne's shorter works (such as those in Hawthorne and the Real: Bicentennial Essays and The Cambridge Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne) have to say about them. It's time well spent!

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