Sophia Peabody Hawthorne: 1809-1847

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University of Missouri Press, 2004 - 306 Seiten
Sophia Peabody Hawthorne is known almost exclusively in her role as the wife of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who portrayed her as the fragile, ethereal, infirm "Dove." That image, invented by Nathaniel to serve his needs and affirm his manhood, was passed on by his biographers, who accepted their subject's perception without question. In fact, the real Sophia was very different from Nathaniel's construction of her.
An independent, sensuous, daring woman, Sophia was an accomplished artist before her marriage to Nathaniel. Moreover, what she brought to their union inspired Nathaniel's imagination beyond the limits of his previously confined existence. In Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, Patricia Dunlavy Valenti situates the story of Sophia's life within its own historical, philosophical, and cultural background, as well as within the context of her marriage. Valenti begins with parallel biographies that present Sophia, and then Nathaniel, at comparable periods in their lives.
Sophia was born into an expansive, somewhat chaotic home in which women provided financial as well as emotional sustenance. She was a precocious, eager student whose rigorous education, in her mother's and her sisters' schools, began her association with the children of New England's elite. Sophia aspired to become a professional, self-supporting painter, exhibiting her art and seeking criticism from established mentors. She relished an eighteen-month sojourn in Cuba. Nathaniel's reclusive family, his reluctant early education, his anonymous pursuit of a career, and his relatively circumscribed life contrast markedly with the experience of the woman who became his wife and the mother of his children. Those differences resulted in a creative abrasion that ignited his fiction during the first years of their marriage.
Volume 1 of this biography concludes with Sophia's negotiation of the Hawthornes' departure from the Old Manse and the birth of their second child. This period also coincides with the conclusion of Nathaniel's major phase of short story writing.
Sophia Peabody Hawthorne is an engrossing story of a nineteenth-century American life. It analyzes influences upon authorship and questions the boundaries of intellectual property in the domestic sphere. The book also offers fresh interpretations of Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiction, examining it through the lens of Sophia's vibrant personality and diverse interests. Students and scholars of American literature, literary theory, feminism, and cultural history will find much to enrich their understanding of this woman and this era.
 

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Inhalt

The Cold Calmness
11
A Mole Hill Is a Mountain
34
This Dismal and Squalid Chamber
42
Chapter 6
52
Through a PeepHole
67
More Exposed
82
A Shy but Not Quite Secluded Man
91
The Key to My Private Cabinet
100
Sophie Naughty Sophie Dove
156
A Perfect Eden
170
The Power of CounterForces
182
The Divine the LifeGiving Touch
195
A Real Living Immortal Spirit
206
More Poison in Thy Nature
216
Holiness Rents
229
Forth Came This Sketch
243

Halloo Sir Solitary
108
The Same Piercing Indrawing Gaze
116
The Lover of Uncontained and Immortal Beauty
141
So Strong a Magnetic Attraction
147

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Über den Autor (2004)

Patricia Dunlavy Valenti is Professor Emerita in the Department of English, Theatre, and Languages at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. The second volume of her biography of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne is also available from the University of Missouri Press. She resides in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and New York City.

Full bio: Patricia Dunlavy Valenti grew up in New York City where her education nurtured a love for literature and history that flourishes in writing biography. Although her doctoral dissertation in the Department of English at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill focused upon Nathaniel Hawthorne's fiction, Valenti soon discovered her real interests: the lives of the Hawthorne women. To Myself A Stranger: A Biography of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop (Louisiana State University Press, 1991), Valenti's first book, focused upon Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne's youngest child who became a Roman Catholic, left her husband, and founded an order of nuns devoted to caring for terminal cancer patients. Valenti's two-volume Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, A Life (University of Missouri Press, 2004, 2015) presents an artist, writer, editor, adventurous traveler, passionate wife, mother and friend who deservedly emerges from the shadow cast by her husband. In this biography, as well as in numerous scholarly articles, Valenti explores the domestic politics of authorship, the term she uses to describe subtle familial and marital influences upon imagination, artistic originality, and intellectual property.

In order to craft the portrait of this formerly misrepresented, mid-nineteenth-century figure and the tumultuous times in which she lived, Valenti examined Sophia's voluminous writing in archives across the United States. This research was supported by several grants, most notably a yearlong fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. During more than two decades of research, Valenti published the first print edition of Sophia's American Notebooks and edited Sophia's Cuba Journal for the Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection's digital edition at the New York Public Library website.

Valenti is Professor Emerita in the Department of English and Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she directed the Graduate Program in English Education. During her teaching career, she authored Understanding the Old Man and the Sea: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents (Greenwood Press, 2002) and held visiting professorships at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, where she received the Outstanding Civilian Service Award. Valenti received several teaching awards, among them the University of North Carolina Board of Governors' Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is a member of the Women's National Book Association, the Authors Guild, Women Writing Women's Lives, and The Biography Seminar, and she is on the advisory board of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society. With her husband, Peter Valenti, she resides in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and New York City.

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