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Encyclopedia > Fanshawe (novel)

The novel Fanshawe was the first published work by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and published anonymously in 1828. It was based on his experiences at Bowdoin College in the early 1820s. He had written successful short stories before, but this was his first attempt at creating a novel. Hawthorne published the romance himself, and it was largely unnoticed. After its commercial failure, he burned the unsold copies: "Later all the copies that could be obtained were destroyed. A dozen years after his death a copy was found and the tale reissued by James R. Osgood & co." (quote cf. N.E. Brown, Bibl. of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Boston and New York, 1905)


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"Fanshawe's Ghost" by J.M. Tyree (5005 words)
A “Fanshawe” is a skeleton in the closet of authorship.
Fanshawe’s case is compared with that of Nathanael Mather, brother of Cotton Mather.
Fanshawe is the thing from which he “cannot turn away his eye” until the last possible moment--just prior, one imagines, to the fatal instant when “death were the consequences of his studies.” It is possible to speak of Auster psychologizing the literal content of Hawthorne’s pseudo-science.
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