Friday, January 1, 2010

What's it all about?

What are my goals with this blog?

First and foremost, I intend to hold myself accountable to continue reading my way through all of Hawthorne's work instead of reading the same bits over and over again. When I have read all his published work I will read it again and again, as well as seeking out his journals and correspondence.

Why do all that reading? Because I want to know Hawthorne more completely. I want to hear his voice in my head. I want to write about him and I want to encourage others to write about him.

Second, I want to raise Hawthorne's visibility because I think he does not receive the recognition he should. Oh yes, most Americans meet him briefly in the classroom, but there is this perfect love story between Nat and Sophia Peabody, it has all the ingredients the right screenwriter could mold into a blockbuster romance, and yet almost no one knows the story. I would like to tell that story in a great big blockbuster movie culminating with the wedding July 9, 1842.

And then I imagine Hawthorne's entire life story would lend itself well to a three part mini series. So perhaps a synchronous producer would make that mini series.

And then I think the whole thing would snowball and there could be a series about the lives of authors in the early 19th century who were helping America forge a literature of her own. Hawthorne, yes, but also Irving, Poe, Melville. Maybe Cooper.

And I imagine another biographical series about other famous people of the time spiraling out from Hawthorne, to Elizabeth Peabody, Emerson, Thoreau, Horace Mann, Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller.

And of course, there is the whole body of Hawthorne fiction that could be brought to the screen. I want to see a flowering of media about Hawthorne and his friends and his stories and his novels.

I know, these are wild and crazy, grandiose thoughts. But I think there's enough material there. I think certain historical periods are in fashion from time to time, and now it's time to consider the early antebellum, the birth of transcendentalism, the Manifest Destiny generation. I consider how America fawned over Jane Austen in 2008, we watched all her movies on PBS, and paid to see The Jane Austen Book Club and Becoming Jane in the theaters. Is it farfetched to believe we might become thus enamored of Nathaniel Hawthorne someday?

So I am sending a little ripple out to see if I can infect the world with a Hawthorne meme.

Happy New Year.

1 comment:

  1. You have all of my encouragement. This is a great project. I am reading The Wonder Book right now, a minor Hawthorne work by any light, but surprisingly instructive about Hawthorne - he's completely recognizable in it.

    I hope to get to The Blithedale Romance and The English Journal this year. The fragmented American Journal, although not exactly a coherent work, is full of fantastic things, especially the At Home with Julian and Bunny piece.