The marriage of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne—for their contemporaries a model of true love and married happiness—was also a scene of revulsion and combat. T. Walter Herbert reveals the tragic conflicts beneath the Hawthorne's ideal of domestic fulfillment and shows how their marriage reflected the tensions within nineteenth-century society. In so doing, he sheds new light on Hawthorne's fiction, with its obsessive themes of guilt and grief, balked feminism and homosexual seduction, adultery, patricide, and incest.
T. Walter Herbert is University Scholar and Brown Professor of English at Southwestern University. He is the author of Moby-Dick and Calvinism: A World Dismantled (1977) and Marquesan Encounters: Melville and the Meaning of Civilization (1980).