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The Blithedale Romance (Anglais) Cassette – 30 janvier 2001

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--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché.

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Old Moodie

The evening before my departure for Blithedale, I was returning to my bachelor-apartments, after attending the wonderful exhibition of the Veiled Lady, when an elderly-man of rather shabby appearance met me in an obscure part of the street.

“Mr. Coverdale,” said he, softly, “can I speak with you a moment?”

As I have casually alluded to the Veiled Lady, it may not be amiss to mention, for the benefit of such of my readers as are unacquainted with her now forgotten celebrity, that she was a phenomenon in the mesmeric line; one of the earliest that had indicated the birth of a new science, or the revival of an old humbug. Since those times, her sisterhood have grown too numerous to attract much individual notice; nor, in fact, has any one of them ever come before the public under such skilfully contrived circumstances of stage-effect, as those which at once mystified and illuminated the remarkable performances of the lady in question. Now-a-days, in the management of his “subject,” “clairvoyant,” or “medium,” the exhibitor affects the simplicity and openness of scientific experiment; and even if he profess to tread a step or two across the boundaries of the spiritual world, yet carries with him the laws of our actual life, and extends them over his preternatural conquests. Twelve or fifteen years ago, on the contrary, all the arts of mysterious arrangement, of picturesque disposition, and artistically contrasted light and shade, were made available in order to set the apparent miracle in the strongest attitude of opposition to ordinary facts. In the case of the Veiled Lady, moreover, the interest of the spectator was further wrought up by the enigma of her identity, and an absurd rumor (probably set afloat by the exhibitor, and at one time very prevalent) that a beautiful young lady, of family and fortune, was enshrouded within the misty drapery of the veil. It was white, with somewhat of a subdued silver sheen, like the sunny side of a cloud; and falling over the wearer, from head to foot, was supposed to insulate her from the material world, from time and space, and to endow her with many of the privileges of a disembodied spirit.

Her pretensions, however, whether miraculous or otherwise, have little to do with the present narrative; except, indeed, that I had propounded, for the Veiled Lady’s prophetic solution, a query as to the success of our Blithedale enterprise. The response, by-the-by, was of the true Sibylline stamp, nonsensical in its first aspect, yet, on closer study, unfolding a variety of interpretations, one of which has certainly accorded with the event. I was turning over this riddle in my mind, and trying to catch its slippery purport by the tail, when the old man, above-mentioned, interrupted me.

“Mr. Coverdale!—Mr. Coverdale!” said he, repeating my name twice, in order to make up for the hesitating and ineffectual way in which he uttered it—“I ask your pardon, sir—but I hear you are going to Blithedale tomorrow?”

I knew the pale, elderly face, with the red-tipt nose, and the patch over one eye, and likewise saw something characteristic in the old fellow’s way of standing under the arch of a gate, only revealing enough of himself to make me recognize him as an acquaintance. He was a very shy personage, this Mr. Moodie; and the trait was the more singular, as his mode of getting his bread necessarily brought him into the stir and hubbub of the world, more than the generality of men.

“Yes, Mr. Moodie,” I answered, wondering what interest he could take in the fact, “it is my intention to go to Blithedale tomorrow. Can I be of any service to you, before my departure?”

“If you pleased, Mr. Coverdale,” said he, “you might do me a very great favor.”

“A very great one!” repeated I, in a tone that must have expressed but little alacrity of beneficence, although I was ready to do the old man any amount of kindness involving no special trouble to myself. “A very great favor, do you say? My time is brief, Mr. Moodie, and I have a good many preparations to make. But be good enough to tell me what you wish.”

“Ah, sir,” replied old Moodie, “I don’t quite like to do that; and, on further thoughts, Mr. Coverdale, perhaps I had better apply to some older gentleman, or to some lady, if you would have the kindness to make me known to one, who may happen to be going to Blithedale. You are a young man, sir!”

“Does that fact lessen my availability for your purpose?” asked I. “However, if an older man will suit you better, there is Mr. Hollingsworth,3 who has three or four years the advantage of me in age, and is a much more solid character, and a philanthropist to boot. I am only a poet, and, so the critics tell me, no great affair at that! But what can this business be, Mr. Moodie? It begins to interest me; especially since your hint that a lady’s influence might be found desirable. Come; I am really anxious to be of service to you.”

But the old fellow, in his civil and demure manner, was both freakish and obstinate; and he had now taken some notion or other into his head that made him hesitate in his former design.

“I wonder, sir,” said he, “whether you know a lady whom they call Zenobia?”

“Not personally,” I answered, “although I expect that pleasure tomorrow, as she has got the start of the rest of us, and is already a resident at Blithedale. But have you a literary turn, Mr. Moodie?—or have you taken up the advocacy of women’s rights?—or what else can have interested you in this lady? Zenobia, by-the-by, as I suppose you know, is merely her public name; a sort of mask in which she comes before the world, retaining all the privileges of privacy—a contrivance, in short, like the white drapery of the Veiled Lady, only a little more transparent. But it is late! Will you tell me what I can do for you?”

“Please to excuse me to-night, Mr. Coverdale,” said Moodie. “You are very kind; but I am afraid I have troubled you, when, after all, there may be no need. Perhaps, with your good leave, I will come to your lodgings tomorrow-morning, before you set out for Blithedale. I wish you a good-night, sir, and beg pardon for stopping you.”

And so he slipt away; and, as he did not show himself, the next morning, it was only through subsequent events that I ever arrived at a plausible conjecture as to what his business could have been. Arriving at my room, I threw a lump of cannel coal upon the grate, lighted a cigar, and spent an hour in musings of every hue, from the brightest to the most sombre; being, in truth, not so very confident as at some former periods, that this final step, which would mix me up irrevocably with the Blithedale affair, was the wisest that could possibly be taken. It was nothing short of midnight when I went to bed, after drinking a glass of particularly fine Sherry, on which I used to pride myself, in those days. It was the very last bottle; and I finished it, with a friend, the next forenoon, before setting out for Blithedale. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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"Hawthorne, in putting this novel together, was engaged in the most serious literary enterprise of his career."
--Louis Auchincloss --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Détails sur le produit

  • Cassette
  • Editeur : Audio Book Contractors; Édition : Unabridged (30 janvier 2001)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 1556856504
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556856501
  • Dimensions du produit: 22,4 x 13 x 3 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Par EyeCandy le 21 novembre 2011
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Ce livre est très spécial. Le concept de l'histoire est tres interessant et permet une analyse psychologique des personnages pointue. Je vous le recommande.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 48 commentaires
33 internautes sur 35 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Necessity 17 juin 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is not only a book with which any Hawthorne fan should be familiar, it is a necessity to anyone who is studying the Romantic Tradition. This text is an elegant commentary on the ideals that the Romantics held dear, such as the authenticity of a life close to the earth, the superiority of existence outside of common society rather than within it, and our innate ability, with enough well-directed effort, to transcend our own humanity. Like a breath of fresh air after Wordsworth, Thoreau, Keats, and both Shelleys, Hawthorne's cynicism and pessimism on these topics shine clearly through this work. Though admittedly he has failed in his announced effort to make the text cheerful and lighthearted, this is not such a complete failure as one may initially suppose, when this novel is contrasted with his others. Much of the humor that is in the book is centered around the narrator, Coverdale, whose nature forces him to fit in with his surroundings in a way which is a bit askew, precipitating enjoyable scenes which the reader can appreciate, if he or she has refrained from judging this main character. The treasure in this book, however, is not mainly in its humor, but rather (for me at least - each person presumably takes from it something different) in the elegance with which so many universal truths are exposed (often only partially, so that the reader can feel a sense of triumph when they wholly uncover them) to our conscious awareness. As you have no doubt already surmised, I highly recommend this novel.
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An impassioned human drama 23 décembre 2002
Par Daniel Jolley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
The Blithedale Romance is a somewhat dark, depressing tale of idealism gone awry and of friendship and love torn asunder by private ambitions. The romance of these pages is not what many modern readers may expect to find here; there is no penultimate consummation of love among these characters, nor is there much happiness indeed to be discerned from the complexity of their relations one with another. Much has been made of Hawthorne's own temporary residence at the utopian-minded Brook Farm a decade previous to the publication of this work; it is true that some of the experiences derive from his own memories, but Hawthorne went to great pains to make clear that this is a romance first and foremost and bears no direct relation to the experiences of his own life. Those who would read this novel in an attempt to get at Hawthorne's true feelings about the utopian socialism he flirted with and watched from afar during his pivotal creative years may well miss out on the thought-provoking treatment of such wonderfully literary, fascinating characters as Hollingsworth the idealistic philanthropist, Zenobia the modern feminist reformer with a fatal flaw inimical to her self-realization, and the sweet and frail Priscilla.
The first-person narrator of this story is Miles Coverdale, a man difficult to come to terms with. He joins with the pioneers behind the utopian farming community of Blithedale and truly takes heart in the possibility of this new kind of communitarian life offering mankind a chance to live lives of purpose and fulfillment, yet at times he steps outside of events and seems to view the whole experience as a study in human character and a learning experience to which his heart-strings are only loosely bound. The drama that unfolds is told in his perspective only, and one can never know how much he failed to discern or the degree to which his own conjectures are correct. His eventual castigation of Hollingsworth cannot be doubted, however. This rather unfeeling man joins the community on the hidden pretext of acquiring the means for fulfilling his overriding utopian dream of creating an edifice for the reformation of criminals. This dream takes over his life, Coverdale observes, and his once-noble philanthropic passion morphs him into an overzealous, unfeeling man who brings ruin upon those who were once his friends. It is really Zenobia, though, upon which the novel feeds. She is a fascinating woman of means who makes the Blithedale dream a reality, a bold reformer seeking a new equality for women in the world who ultimately, at Hawthorne's bidding, suffers the ignominious fate of the fragile spirit she seemed to have overcome.
This is not a novel that will immediately enthrall you in its clutches. The first half of the novel is sometimes rather slow going, but I would urge you not to cast this book aside carelessly. The final chapters sparkle with drama and human passion, and you find yourself suddenly immersed in this strange community of tragic friends-turned-foes. You care deeply what happens to such once-noble spirits, and while you may not find joy in the tragic conclusion of the ill-fated social experiment of Blithedale, you will certainly find your soul stirred by the tragedy of unfolding events.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.5 Stars . . . Warnings and Whimsy 1 juin 2010
Par Eric Wilson - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
As a Hawthorne fan, I allowed this book's title to dissuade me. A romance? Not my thing. Surely, this would be sub-par fiction from one of my favorite American authors. I set aside my objections, however, after seeing that England's Westminster Review called this book "the finest production of genius in either hemisphere." I was further intrigued by its exploration of the Utopian ideal, in this case, the fictional communal farm of Blithedale, based on Hawthorne's own real-life experiences at the short-lived Brook Farm outside Boston. There are romance elements within this story, yes, but the initial romance is that notion of a better life somewhere else, with like-minded souls, forgetting the reality of the fallen nature in mankind.

"The Blithedale Romance" is told first-person through the eyes of Miles Coverdale, a young poet. It's an easier read than Hawthorne's other novels, told with a wry sense of humor and sarcasm. He wonders, for example, whether this social experiment will be aptly named "The Oasis" or "Saharah." As Coverdale joins the other dreamers at Blithedale, he imagines the spiritual benefits of hard work, the joys their own labors will bestow upon them, but those "clods of earth . . . never etherealized into thought. Our thoughts, on the contrary, were fast becoming cloddish." The romance of their fellowship and shared subsistence loses its sheen, even in its first days, when they realize they must beat out the local market-goers, if they are to find the best produce. The very dog-eat-dog mentality they hope to escape becomes part of their reality, if they hope to survive their first winter together.

The idealism of their Community begins to crumble beneath the personal, though outwardly philanthropic, ambitions of formidable Mr. Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth's goals draw in the equally formidable--and unforgettable, among women in fiction--Zenobia, who seems to be the leader of this ragtag Community. While Coverdale resists Hollingsworth's requests, Zenobia is joined by the farm's newest member, frail but graceful Priscilla, in falling in love with Hollingsworth. The connections between these four souls become clear as the story goes along, including the mysterious Mr. Moodie and the ominous Westervelt. These characters' pasts, their hurts, their loves and affections, will ultimately doom the otherwise noble intentions at Blithedale. Tragedy will ensue. And once again, as in the Garden of Eden, mankind's selfish endeavors derail his attempts at bettering humanity.

Hawthorne, through Coverdale's confessions, not only warns us against the laziness that makes no effort at betterment, but against the lofty ideals that can become so narrow-minded they harm our greater good. He gives thought-provoking commentary on love, feminism, socialism, art, hard work, and the fundamentalism that now plagues our country in various modes. In confession, Mr. Coverdale shows his own culpability in the farm's failed experiment. If we are to live together in harmony, if we are to improve as a society, we could take a few lessons from "The Blithedale Romance," choosing a balanced view of men and women, the spiritual and physical, and the need for community with occasional retreats for personal refreshment.

Despite its numerous ideas and commentaries, this is the most whimsical--until the end--of Hawthorne's stories. Its plot meanders, but the characters are deftly drawn, full-bodied and multifaceted. Even in providing a cautionary tale, Hawthorne seems to follow his own advice and take a lighthearted approach to the unpredictability of the mind and the human heart.
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Many Warm Feelings Gleaned 19 décembre 2012
Par David Milliern - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
[Review of Kindle version]: Just to give a general heads-up, unlike many of the free Kindle editions of classic texts, this one is fine. There are only a couple of mistakes in the text, and none that made a headache of reading this edition.

[Review of book]: Before reading the book, I had read reviews that this book feels "mechanical" in its writing. I really didn't get this at all. It may have been that I was too enthralled in the lovely story to notice any rigidity in the writing. The book's storyline is a delight, but ends in an unsettling way. I found myself wrapped up in the romantic, misty mirth of the story, which was offset by a number of the gothic tropes. I cannot express the enjoyment I got out of reading this book, much more so than I remember ever having in reading "The Scarlet Letter." In my opinion, this book is one of those literary gems that many might not hear about, because of being overshadowed by an author's magnum opus. Reading this was a pleasant surprise, and is one of the rare books I can see myself revisiting on a yearly basis, which is an appreciable statement given the length of my reading list.

If you like romantic (in the sense of ideals) stories, are interested in utopian visions, or wish to understand the modern "dystopian-turn" in the literary landscape, this is a book I would recommend.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Hawthorne's Utopia 25 mai 2012
Par A Certain Bibliophile - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
After reading "The Scarlet Letter" years ago in school, and now "The House of Seven Gables" and "The Blithedale Romance" in relatively close conjunction, there seems to be a common theme running throughout much of Hawthorne's longer fiction: namely, the deep and abiding mistrust in ideas of utopia, progress or perfectibility, especially of the human kind. Hawthorne came from a long line of Puritans, one of whom even presided over some of the Salem witch trials. Now writing on the cusp of the Civil War, he feels the renewed need for the kind of pragmatic skepticism which, one generation later, an entire generation of American philosophers will call for.

Coverdale, the naïve narrator in search of an agrarian source of truth, discovers Blithedale (the name itself should set off bells of suspicion), a community built around the ideals of Fourier, the utopian French social theorist. Fourier thought that life could be optimized through a kind of rationalistic social engineering, the basic living unit of which he called the "phalanstere." The hilarious (hilarious in that subtle, dowdy, Puritan way that was uniquely Hawthorne's) part is that, once everyone in Blithedale is introduced into the mix, tensions, different ideas, passions, and ideologies start to bubble to the surface showing just what a pipedream Fourier's utopia really is. Hawthorne's point seems to be that holding rationality primary over contingency and human emotion is shortsighted and silly. Not only is Blithedale a folly, but the very idea of a utopia is a sheer impossibility. I'm sure that Hawthorne would have us remember the clever lesson from Thomas More's "Utopia" - that it means, quite literally, "no place."

I'll forego a lot of the plot details because I read this several months ago, and wouldn't be able to do them justice without re-reading it. What I have unpacked here is just what jumped out at me the most. There is a strange woman named Zenobia who always wears a fresh flower in her hair, who turns out being the half-sister of a Blithedale foundling named Priscilla. The novel culminates in a set of philosophical disagreements between Coverdale and Hollingsworth, the ironically patriarchal figure whose presence hangs over Blithedale. I found the plot somewhat contrived and unrealistic, even for Hawthorne, but still very much worthwhile.

The action is based on Hawthorne's experiences at Brook Farm, a well-known utopian community in its own right, where he spent most of 1841, largely in an effort to save money for his marriage. He would marry Sophia Peabody (of the famous Peabody sisters) in July of the next year.
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