The Blithedale Romance (Paperback)
One of Hawthorne''s great romances, "The Blithedale Romance" draws upon the author''s experiences at Brook Farm, the short-lived utopian community where Hawthorne spent much of 1841. Blithedale ("Happy Valley"), another would-be modern Arcadia, is the stage for Hawthorne''s grimly comic tragedy (Henry James famously called the novel "the lightest, the brightest, the liveliest" of Hawthorne''s "unhumorous fictions"). In his introduction, Robert S. Levine considers bio-graphical and historical contexts and offers a fresh appreciation of the novel''s ironic first-person narrator.
The John Harvard Library edition reproduces the authoritative text of "The Blithedale Romance" in The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Hawthorne's portrait of a utopian community whose collective ideals increasingly clash with the passions of individual members is based on his own experiences at Brook Farm. The novel tackles many of the burning issues of his day, including women's rights, spiritualism, and socialism. In spite of its seriousness, Henry James called it "the lightest, the brightest, the liveliest of Nathaniel Hawthorne's novels."
"Though not his greatest, THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE is the most 'actual' of Hawthorne's novels....We enjoy, in the direct way of lively reportage, the details of the farm....We enjoy the romance's images of homely country life undertaken by excessively refined sensibilities....Hawthorne's haunted, twilit imagination never admitted more local American daylight than in THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE." - John Updike 08/09/2001