HAWTHORNE'S SENSE OF AN ENDING: THE PROBLEM OF CLOSURE IN THE FRAGMENTS AND THE ROMANCES.

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/183986
Title:
HAWTHORNE'S SENSE OF AN ENDING: THE PROBLEM OF CLOSURE IN THE FRAGMENTS AND THE ROMANCES.
Author:
SHAUGHNESSY, MARY AGNES.
Issue Date:
1986
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation examines the problem of narrative closure in Hawthorne's major romances in the light of the unfinished manuscripts he was working on immediately before his death. Despite the sense of formlessness the mass of material itself sugests, these manuscripts bear striking similarities to his earlier works. The problems of reading and writing, of concealment and revelation, of searching for one's origins and being shaped by one's past, the figure of the storyteller whose manner and difficulties usurp the story itself in importance--these are materials Hawthorne returned to time after time as if unable to locate precisely or exhaust completely their implications. The majority of Hawthorne's tales and romances are fragmentary. For Hawthorne, reality is always beyond man's ability to perceive except as bits and fragments. Throughout his work he asserts his awareness that man can perceive and express only a minuscule part of the immense, inexhaustible reality within and outside of his own mind. Every expression is, therefore, incomplete, and the artistic process becomes one of piecing together, by retelling and reshaping, the fragments of both imagination and perception. To study the problem of closure in narratives that have grown out of this view of the relationship between human experience and its artistic expression is to consider not only the formalistic dimension of the problem (how stories end) but the relationship between the narrative's ending and the ending of human experience in death. It is to consider the relationship between the forms of closure and the formlessness and absence of death. In viewing Hawthorne's romances retrospectively one repeatedly encounters his ironic sense that death both gives meaning to life and renders it ridiculous and that death both generates narrative and demands its ending. Hawthorne's allegory causes him to place himself within his texts in a way that makes them expressive of the design of his own life artistically woven into the texts of his career. By thus inverting the glass and reversing the cycle as suggested in "The Dolliver Romance," the reader effects the reliving of the author's life through art. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 -- Criticism and interpretation.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dryden, Edgar

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleHAWTHORNE'S SENSE OF AN ENDING: THE PROBLEM OF CLOSURE IN THE FRAGMENTS AND THE ROMANCES.en_US
dc.creatorSHAUGHNESSY, MARY AGNES.en_US
dc.contributor.authorSHAUGHNESSY, MARY AGNES.en_US
dc.date.issued1986en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation examines the problem of narrative closure in Hawthorne's major romances in the light of the unfinished manuscripts he was working on immediately before his death. Despite the sense of formlessness the mass of material itself sugests, these manuscripts bear striking similarities to his earlier works. The problems of reading and writing, of concealment and revelation, of searching for one's origins and being shaped by one's past, the figure of the storyteller whose manner and difficulties usurp the story itself in importance--these are materials Hawthorne returned to time after time as if unable to locate precisely or exhaust completely their implications. The majority of Hawthorne's tales and romances are fragmentary. For Hawthorne, reality is always beyond man's ability to perceive except as bits and fragments. Throughout his work he asserts his awareness that man can perceive and express only a minuscule part of the immense, inexhaustible reality within and outside of his own mind. Every expression is, therefore, incomplete, and the artistic process becomes one of piecing together, by retelling and reshaping, the fragments of both imagination and perception. To study the problem of closure in narratives that have grown out of this view of the relationship between human experience and its artistic expression is to consider not only the formalistic dimension of the problem (how stories end) but the relationship between the narrative's ending and the ending of human experience in death. It is to consider the relationship between the forms of closure and the formlessness and absence of death. In viewing Hawthorne's romances retrospectively one repeatedly encounters his ironic sense that death both gives meaning to life and renders it ridiculous and that death both generates narrative and demands its ending. Hawthorne's allegory causes him to place himself within his texts in a way that makes them expressive of the design of his own life artistically woven into the texts of his career. By thus inverting the glass and reversing the cycle as suggested in "The Dolliver Romance," the reader effects the reliving of the author's life through art. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectHawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864 -- Criticism and interpretation.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorDryden, Edgaren_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHogle, Jerrolden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberO'Donnell, Patricken_US
dc.identifier.proquest8708568en_US
dc.identifier.oclc698372482en_US
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