Date: August 1996
Creator: Williamson, Richard Joseph, 1962-
Description: This dissertation attempts to demonstrate how Nathaniel Hawthorne's lifelong friendship with Franklin Pierce influenced the author's literary imagination, often prompting him to transform Pierce from his historical personage into a romanticized figure of notably Jacksonian qualities. It is also an assessment of how Hawthorne's friendship with Pierce profoundly influenced a wide range of his work, from his first novel, Fanshawe (1828), to the Life of Franklin Pierce (1852) and such later works as the unfinished Septimius romances and the dedicatory materials in Our Old Home (1863). This dissertation shows how Pierce became for Hawthorne a literary device—an icon of Jacksonian virtue, a token of the Democratic party, and an emblem of steadfastness, military heroism, and integrity, all three of which were often at odds with Pierce's historical character. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the Hawthorne-Pierce friendship. The chapter also assesses biographical reconstructions of Pierce's character and life. Chapter 2 addresses Hawthorne's years at Bowdoin College, his introduction to Pierce, and his early socialization. Chapter 3 demonstrates how Hawthorne transformed his Bowdoin experience into formulaic Gothic narrative in his first novel, Fanshawe. Chapter 4 discusses the influence of the Hawthorne-Pierce friendship on the Life of Franklin Pierce, Hawthorne's campaign biography ...
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