Imaginative Sympathy: Hawthorne’s British Soulmate

  • Linden Peach


As Emerson in Representative Men developed possibilities provided by Carlyle’s On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History, so Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter (1851) pursued possibilities offered by the Waverley novels and especially by The Heart of Midlothian. Scholars have found that a wide variety of authors influenced Hawthorne, including colonial American writers, Spenser and seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British authors.1 They have attributed special importance to the influence of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Spenser’s allegory.2 But Scott’s influence upon Hawthorne has never been adequately discussed.


American Literature Sexual Sadism Female Protagonist British Author Sexual Passion 
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  1. 01.
    According to H. Arlin Turner the list includes Cotton Mather, Walpole, Southey, Thomas Browne, Nathaniel Mather, ‘Hawthorne’s Literary Borrowings’, PMLA, 51 (June 1936), 543–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 02.
    The most important articles dealing with Spenser’s influence are Randall Stewart, ‘Hawthorne and The Faerie Queene’, Philological Quarterly, 12 (April 1933), 196–207 and Herbert A. Leibowitz, ‘Hawthorne and Spenser: Two Sources’, American Literature, 30, No. 4 (January 1959), 459–66.Google Scholar
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  4. 03.
    I am indebted here to two works in particular: H. W. Boynton, Annals of American Bookselling, 1638–1850 (New York: Wiley, 1932).Google Scholar
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    Douglas Grant, the only scholar who had drawn attention to a connection between Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter and Scott’s The Heart of Midlothian, observes only that both novels open with a dramatic technique that connects the present with the past in which the novel is set and that both Effie and Hester conceal the paternity of their child. Douglas Grant, ‘Sir Walter Scott and Nathaniel Hawthorne’, University of Leeds Review 8 (1963), 38–79;.Google Scholar
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© Linden Peach 1982

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  • Linden Peach

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