Passages from the English Notebooks, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Passages from the English Notebooks

It seems justly due to Mr. Hawthorne that the occasion of any portion of his private journals being brought before the Public should be made known, since they were originally designed for his own reference only.

There had been a constant and an urgent demand for a life or memoir of Mr. Hawthorne; yet, from the extreme delicacy and difficulty of the subject, the Editor felt obliged to refuse compliance with this demand. Moreover, Mr. Hawthorne had frequently and emphatically expressed the hope that no one would attempt to write his Biography; and the Editor perceived that it would be impossible for any person, outside of his own domestic circle, to succeed in doing it, on account of his extreme reserve. But it was ungracious to do nothing, and therefore the Editor, believing that Mr. Hawthorne himself was alone capable of satisfactorily answering the affectionate call for some sketch of his life, concluded to publish as much as possible of his private records, and even extracts from his private letters, in order to gratify the desire of his friends and of literary artists to become more intimately acquainted with him. The Editor has been severely blamed and wondered at, in some instances, for allowing many things now published to see the light; but it has been a matter both of conscience and courtesy to withhold nothing that could be given up. Many of the journals were doubtless destroyed; for the earliest date found in his American papers was that of 1835…
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