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'All that associates, saves': Hawthorne biography and twentieth-century American cultural criticism

Groth-Seary, Angela Groth-Seary (2005) 'All that associates, saves': Hawthorne biography and twentieth-century American cultural criticism. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86525) (KAR id:86525)


This study gives an account of the roles that biographies of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a nineteenth-century American writer, have come to play within the twentieth-century discourses concerned with American literature as a national literature and as a field of academic inquiry. While attempting to outline the general development of Hawthorne biography in this context, it concentrates mainly on three Hawthorne biographies and on the historical, intellectual and political contexts within which they were produced: Newton Arvin's Hawthorne, published in 1929, Randall Stewart's Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Biography (1948), and Walter Herbert's Dearest Beloved: The Hawthornes and the Making of the Middle-class Family (1993). Each of these lives has been a benchmark in Hawthorne biography; they have introduced new theories and methods and have been embraced by some contemporary critics but contested by others. The first chapter of this thesis outlines debates about biographical practice in a specifically American context. Chapter 2 reads the Hawthorne biographies of the 1920s in the context of Van Wyck Brooks's call to 'create a usable past'. Chapter 3 examines the Hawthorne biographies of the late 1940s, paying particular attention to the ways in which politically conservative or liberal values are inscribed in them and situating them in relation to the attitudes towards biography on the part of practitioners of the New Criticism on one hand and of historical scholarship on the other. Chapter 4 explores new developments in Hawthorne biography since the early 1980s and specifically analyses Herbert's 'new historicist' study of the nuclear Hawthorne family in the light of David Reynolds's notion of 'cultural biography'. The thesis ends with a conclusion which considers the forms in which Hawthorne biography might continue in the twenty-first century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Carabine, Keith
Thesis advisor: Claridge, Henry
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86525
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2019 13:55 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 20:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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