Description: Through narrations presenting juxtaposition of conditions and ambivalence of conclusions, writers in the Hawthornian tradition compel the reader to interpret for himself the destiny of the creative protagonist. In these works the creative self is often threatened with psychical annihilation by its internal conflicts between pragmatic needs and aesthetic goals, social responsibility and professional dedication, idealistic pursuits and materialistic desires. Works in this tradition show creativity evolving from conflicting forces within the creative self. Female characters in the novels function as the creative imagination, leading the self towards creative consummation, sometimes bearing the creation itself, and always suggesting mythical figures associated with creativity. Male characters represent either the withdrawn, sensitive, idealistic ego, or the active, materialistic will. Confrontation between these internal forces produces the apocalyptic revelation enabling the self to transcend its condition by renewing contact with the creative source, the unconscious psyche. For these writers the unconscious has roots in myth, legend, dreams, and memory and is opposed to sterile conditions producing fragmentation of the creative self. In the Hawthornian tradition, the American Revolution separated the self from existence in the timeless universal givens and propelled it into assuming the determination of history. Bereft of traditional guidance and belief and burdened by moral responsibility, the creative self in this tradition is driven inward, continually seeking balance between its internal conflicts of idealism and materialism and finding the only means to immortality through the creative work itself.
Date: December 1983
Creator: Kirsten, Gladys L. (Gladys Lucille)
Partner: UNT Libraries