Dedicated to classics and hits.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The House of The Seven Gables (1851) by Nathaniel Hawthorne























Book Review
The House of the Seven Gables
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
p. 1851
Read on Kindle

Guide to 19th Century American Literature

Book Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin ,1899,  9/26/13
Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1885, 10/15/13
Book Review: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James ,1880 , 7/16/13
Book Review; Ben Hur by Lew Wallace,1880  6/13/13
Book Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott,1869, 3/9/13
Book Review: The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne 1860, 9/19/12
Book Review: Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852, 9/12/12
Book Review: The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne,1851, 5/30/12
Book Review: Moby Dick by Herman Melville 1851, 8/27/12
Book Review: The House of the Seven Gables,1851,  6/21/12
Book Review: The Pit and The Pendulum  1842, 3/28/12
Book Review: The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe, 1844, 3/27/12
Book Review: The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, 1839, 3/20/12
Book Review: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, 1826, 6/18/12


  American Authors are slow to make their initial appearance in the 2006 edition of the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die book.  The first American-authored book is The Last of the Mohicans (Feb. 1826) by James Fenimore Cooper.  A cool 16 years later, Edgar Allan Poe published The Pit and the Pendulum (1842), which is a short story.  After that it's another decade before Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville join James Fenimore Cooper and Edgar Allan Poe in the canon.

 If you look at a Google Ngram of the four Authors: James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, you can learn about their respective popularity/frequency of mention among different time periods.   Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville emerge together, as is demonstrates in the Ngram comparing the four authors between 1800 and 1855.  Initially, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville dwarf James Fenimore Cooper and Edgar Allan Poe.  This is likely because Cooper was old and unfashionable, and Poe was unrecognized.

  As of 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne is the most frequently mentioned Author among the four, but barely more popular then Herman Melville.  If you extend the time line to the present day and look at the respective frequency of mention for the same four authors, it's a much different graph.  During the longer time frame, from 1800 to 2010, Nathaniel Hawthorne dominates until 1910, he is eclipsed at that point by Edgar Allan Poe who has a strong lead until the end of World War II, when he is eclipsed by Herman Melville, who benefits from a sharp increase during the 1950s.

  This graph reflects the belated recognition of Edgar Allan Poe as a literary genius worth canonizing, and the subsequent canonization.  The spike in Herman Melville's frequency of mention is probably caused by the popularity of Moby Dick as a modern/pre-modernist "classic" among the literature departments of American Universities.

   The longer period also reflects the decline in popularity of James Fenimore Cooper relative to the other three Authors.  The period after 1960 reflects a sharp decline for all four Authors in relative frequency- which probably reflects the addition of more Authors to the literary canon, making these four Authors relatively less important and a smaller portion of the works included.

  I agree with everyone else that James Fenimore Cooper is boring.  The Sir Walter Scott "historical romance" is a matter for genre fiction now, and doesn't retain a lot of relevance to modern literary style.  Of the remaining three Authors, Nathaniel Hawthorne is the most intriguing because of his relative low-profile and number of high quality hits- all written between 1850-1860.  I was curt with Hawthorne's, The Blithedale Romance- written in 1852- but I think I was being unfair during that review, and I intend to revise it.

  The Wikipedia entry for The House of The Seven Gables calls it a "gothic novel."  That is an accurate description.  Hawthorne's inclusion of super natural and "cutting edge" social concerns bears some relationship to the blend of interests that feature prominently on say, American Network Television.  Kind of a creepy vibe.  The House of The Seven Gables is another exhibit in the brief supporting the enduring power of Gothic themed Art.   By the publication date of 1851, "Gothic" had been an established literary genre for a century, and Nathaniel Hawthorne was clearly aware of the conventions of literary Gothic-ism.

  Importantly though it's an American Gothic set in New England and featuring American characters. Nathaniel Hawthorne was attached to his New England settings, and like The Blithedale Romance, The House of The Seven Gables has references to Mesmerism and Fourierism. (early Communism)  Of course, Witchcraft is a central part of the machinery in The House of The Seven Gables.  You've never really thought about witches until you've explored Nathaniel Hawthorne's other works.

  Nathaniel Hawthorne published three hit novels between 1850 and 1852: The Scarlet Letter, The Blithedale Romance and The House of The Seven Gables.  Before that he had been writing short stories for close to two decades.   His talent had been recognized by Edgar Allan Poe as early as the 1840s, as Poe wrote in a lengthy review of one of Hawthorne's "Tales" in Godey's Lady Book of 1847.

  But it's fair to say that The House of The Seven Gables represents an effort by Hawthorne to "raise his game" and it was largely successful if posterity's long-term recognition is any guide.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

FRI IN SD: Dream Night: Divers///Chasms @ Whistle Stop

CHASMS when it comes DREAM 001 Mastered by Pete Lyman



















Event Preview

Dream Nite featuring
Divers
Chasms
w/ 2 Time Nominated "Best Club DJ" Mario Orduno
Friday June 22nd, 2012
@ The Whistlestop in North Park, San Diego

     A couple of weeks ago there was this concert with Vatican Shadow and Demdike Stare in Los Angeles, CA and it looked cool and I was like "aww" because I am totally not on top of it. Kind of the same way I totally missed on Wavves and was like, unaware of the phenomenon until I saw them play in LOS ANGELES. At the ECHO.

    On the other hand I did make it to the Art Fag Recordings sponsored Puro Instinct/Pearl Harbor and Best Coast show that happened in 2009.  That was fucking magical. And to think that rubes are going to pay a MILLION DOLLARS to see Best Coast this summer @ The so-called 94/9 Independence Jam.  Independent of what exactly- the whims of an insurance company from Ohio?  No. Certainly not independent of the whims of an insurance company from Ohio.   The gall of them replacing Garrett Michaels like they did!  It fires the blood and illustrates how corporations do business.

    Here's the difference between seeing Best Coast perform in front of 50 people in 2009 and being one of 10,000 people to see them in 2012.  It's the difference between an "independent" and "corporate" audience for popular music.

    Part of doing this blog is making myself "catch up" on trends like the one encompassed by whatever Dream Nite represents. I don't know what that is, other then being 'independent'  I'm certainly not involved with it, so I don't have any special insights. I suppose I'll leave that task for the Peter Hoslins of the world- God bless him. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Last of The Mohicans (1826) by James Fenimore Cooper

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)
                                  James Fenimore Cooper


BOOK REVIEW
The Last of the Mohicans
by James Fenimore Cooper
published 1826
This edition Fiction Wise Classics 2005

Guide to 19th Century American Literature

Book Review: The Awakening by Kate Chopin ,1899,  9/26/13
Book Review: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, 1885, 10/15/13
Book Review: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James ,1880 , 7/16/13
Book Review; Ben Hur by Lew Wallace,1880  6/13/13
Book Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott,1869, 3/9/13
Book Review: The Marble Faun by Nathaniel Hawthorne 1860, 9/19/12
Book Review: Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe 1852, 9/12/12
Book Review: The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne,1851, 5/30/12
Book Review: Moby Dick by Herman Melville 1851, 8/27/12
Book Review: The House of the Seven Gables,1851,  6/21/12
Book Review: The Pit and The Pendulum  1842, 3/28/12
Book Review: The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe, 1844, 3/27/12
Book Review: The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe, 1839, 3/20/12
Book Review: The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, 1826, 6/18/12

  You simply can't discuss James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans without discussing Sir Walter Scott's The Waverley Novels.

  The Last of the Mohicans is the second of a five-volume series called The Leatherstocking Tales.  The Leatherstocking Tales stand in relation to The Waverley Novels as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles stand in relation to Elvis:  One inspired and survived to maintain a presence during the ascendancy of the other.  Here, Sir Walter Scott's The Waverley Novels were Elvis, and The Leatherstocking Tales are the Beatles.

  The Waverley Novels are known as such because Sir Walter Scott wrote under a psuedonym- but Waverley was the first Novel in his series, and for the second book in the series it said that the Author was "The Author of Waverley;" referring to the TITLE of the first book.  Unlike The Waverley novels, which were just a series of Novels by the same Author set in the past (i.e. "historical, epic fiction."), James Fenimore Cooper's The Leatherstocking Tales refer to a specific character, birth name, Natty Brumppo, although in the books he goes by a variety of names:  the Pathfinder, the Trapper, Deer Slayer, Le Longue Carabine and, most hilariously,  Hawkeye.

 Similar to The Waverley Novels, The Last of the Mohicans is set in the past.  Written in 1826, the events of The Last of the Mohicans re-enact well known "current events" from a half century ago.   Like The Waverley Novels, The Last of the Mohicans and the other Leatherstocking Tales were not written in a political vacuum.  To talk about Sir Walter Scott and his line of descent, as some kind of autonomous "Art for Art's Sake" type work is to entirely miss the main point of these books, which is to entertain, and convince the reader of a set of viewpoints that corresponds to the strongly held beliefs of the Author.

 It may be a fascinating area of inquiry- parsing that out- but not really the concern of someone who is going to read The Last of the Mohicans because they saw the movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis or because, say, it's on the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.  For those readers, The Last of the Mohicans is an inevitable disaster because of the clunk methods Cooper uses to go "back in time."  All the dialogue is stilted, and the lavish depictions of scenery are hardly a revelation to anyone who has seen a photograph.

   It's easy to understand WHY James Fenimore Cooper has been canonized, because he's the first internationally famous American Author, and because America INVENTED canonization in the mid 20th century, a time that was more concerned with American roots then we are today.  However, the action doesn't hold the attention, and the politics are, to be kind, "politically incorrect."  Another way to put it might be "well-meaning racism."

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