Reading Experience Database

Basic Search

Advanced Search

Record 20350

Reading Experience:

'The more I read of Mr. Hawthorne's writings the more intense does my admiration become. I read over the other day a part of his "House of the Seven Gables" and I don't remember any delineation of character under Shakespeare's that is to me so exquisitely fascinating as his of Phoebe, and it is the one I think, among all his characters which mark him most of all as a man of very great genius, for in the hands of any but such a man, instead of being as she is "A perfect woman, nobly planned, To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a spirit still and bright With something of an Angel light." she would have been a common place stupid creature who only was good because she had not will to be bad [...] The contrast too of the restless minded metaphysical Holgrave always searching into the cause of things, and his tremendous delight in watching the development of character are admirable [underlined]. This latter feature is I am sure a marking characteristic of Mr. Hawthorne's and I just wish to warn him that though I have in thought [underlined] quite an agonizing sympathy with him in it, yet when carried to such a pitch as he does in practice that he won't give a hand to a pair of poor lovers that have fallen into the gutter on a rainy night because his part is only to be a spectator. I have no patience with him, and beg to say if I catch him at anything like that I will commit an assault upon him as sure as fate. I should tell you, as more important than any thing that I can say on the subject, that for the first time Papa read "The House of the Seven Gables" a few days ago [...] he said that if anyone wished to give a very favorable notion to a non-German reader of Jean Paul Richter's style of thought and sentiment they could not do it more successfully than by pointing out many passages in it [i.e. the Hawthorne], and when I tell you that Papa admires him more than any Author of his class by far, and has often regretted our not being German scholars simply on his account you will have an idea....'
Century: 1850-1899
Date: Between 1 May 1853 and 16 May 1853
Country: Scotland
Time: n/a
Place: city: Lasswade
specific address: Mavish Bush
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Margaret De Quincey
Age Adult (18-100+)
Gender Female
Date of Birth 1818
Socio-economic group: Professional / academic / merchant / farmer
Occupation: part-time secretary for her father, Thomas De Quincey
Religion: unknown
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: Scotland
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: Thomas De Quincey's daughter


Text Being Read:

Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Title: The House of Seven Gables
Genre: Fiction
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: unknown


Source Information:

Record ID: 20350  
Source - Print  
  Author: n/a
  Editor: Willard Hallam Bonner
  Title: De Quincey at Work
  Place of Publication: Buffalo, NY
  Date of Publication: 1936
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 25-26
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Willard Hallam Bonner (ed.), De Quincey at Work (Buffalo, NY, 1936), p. 25-26,, accessed: 13 June 2024

Additional comments:

From a letter from Margaret to De Quincey's American publisher James T. Fields, dated May 16 1853.



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)