Friendship, Politics, and the Literary Imagination: the Impact of Franklin Pierce on Hawthorne's Works

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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 ... continued below

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iii, 240 leaves

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Williamson, Richard Joseph, 1962- August 1996.

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  • Williamson, Richard Joseph, 1962-

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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 of his friend. The friendship, the chapter concludes, was not only a context, or backdrop to the work, but it was also a factor that affected the text significantly. Chapter 5 treats the influence of Hawthorne's camaraderie with Pierce on the author's later works, the Septimius romances and the dedicatory materials in Our Old Home. Chapter 6 illustrates how Hawthorne's continuing friendship with the controversial Pierce distanced him from many of the prominent and influential thinkers and writers of the day, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Elizabeth Palmer Peabody. Chapter 7 offers a final summation of the influence of Pierce on Hawthorne's art and Hawthorne's often tenuous role as political artist. Finally, the chapter shows how an understanding of Hawthorne's relationship with Pierce enhances our perceptions of Hawthorne as writer.

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iii, 240 leaves

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  • August 1996

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  • March 24, 2014, 8:07 p.m.

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  • July 2, 2015, 11:35 a.m.

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Williamson, Richard Joseph, 1962-. Friendship, Politics, and the Literary Imagination: the Impact of Franklin Pierce on Hawthorne's Works, dissertation, August 1996; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc277669/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .