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The Marble Faun [Anglais] [Broché]

Nathaniel Hawthorne , Susan Manning

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Présentation de l'éditeur

'any narrative of human action and adventure - whether we call it history or Romance - is certain to be a fragile handiwork, more easily rent than mended' The fragility - and the durability - of human life and art dominate this story of American expatriates in Italy in the mid-nineteenth century. Befriended by Donatello, a young Italian with the classical grace of the 'Marble Faun', Miriam, Hilda, and Kenyon find their pursuit of art taking a sinister turn as Miriam's unhappy past precipitates the present into tragedy. Hawthorne's 'International Novel' dramatizes the confrontation of the Old World and the New and the uncertain relationship between the 'authentic' and the 'fake', in life as in art. The author's evocative descriptions of classic sites made The Marble Faun a favourite guidebook to Rome for Victorian tourists, but this richly ambiguous symbolic romance is also the story of a murder, and a parable of the Fall of Man. As the characters find their civilized existence disrupted by the awful consequences of impulse, Hawthorne leads his readers to question the value of Art and Culture and addresses the great evolutionary debate which was beginning to shake Victorian society. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

Biographie de l'auteur

Susan Manning has previously edited Scott's Quentin Durward, Washington Irving's Sketchbook and Crevecoeur's Letters from an American Farmer for OWC. Her books include The Puritan-Provincial Vision (CUP, 1990) and Fragments of Union (Palgrave, 2001).

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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Love Hawthorne. 27 juin 2014
Par K. Spangler - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
The Marble Faun is a brilliantly constructed romance that has many elements of a Christian allegory. Hawthorne's language is so rich and beautiful, but you must be patient as he sets his story up for its dramatic climax. The story takes place in Rome and Tuscany, and I enjoyed revisiting all of the places I saw while I was there through the eyes of the author. It seemed to me the novel was the author's forum to describe how much he loved the beauties of Italy, and the story was secondary. I marked many quotes in my book, but I think this one was my favorite:

"Nobody, I think ought to read poetry or look at pictures or statues, who cannot find a great deal more in them than the poet or artist has actually expressed. Their highest merit is suggestiveness."

I also attribute Hawthorne with one of the most vile descriptions, I've ever read:

"In that vicinity lies the Ghetto, where thousands of Jews are crowded within a narrow compass, and lead a close, unclean, and multitudinous life, resembling that of maggots when they over-populate a decaying cheese."

I personally think Camus should have found a place for this description in The Plague.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Really only 3-1/2 stars--Recommended for the beauty of its prose describing Rome, its art and architecture 23 octobre 2014
Par Bob & Pat - Publié sur
Hawthorne disappointed me in The Marble Faun. I had very high expectations after having loved The Scarlet Letter and having recently read and enjoyed both The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance, but the Faun does not come together as a compelling narrative. Instead, it is disjointed—maundering between beautiful, sensitive, intensely felt and described art criticism, panegyrics on the architectural ruins of Rome, complaints of Rome’s modern sordidness, and (at times morosely) depressive imaginings on sin. I am now on page 343 of 362 pages, and want to write this review as the book is fresh in my thoughts.

I strive to be an ideal reader, opening myself to the author’s vision, and allowing the author space in which to craft a story without putting constraints of my own making on the text. But Hawthorne in The Marble Faun clearly reveals his sexist prejudices in ways that a woman reader cannot gloss over or ignore, and which must diminish him in my estimation.

An early chapter, is extremely disappointing: Chapter VI “The Virgin’s Shrine,” which is a long fantasizing over the “virginal” Hilda in which Hawthorne writes:

“It strikes us that there is something far higher and nobler in all this, in her thus sacrificing herself to the devout recognition of the highest excellence in art, than there would have been in cultivating her not inconsiderable share of talent for the production of works from her own ideas. She might have set up for herself, and won no ignoble name; she might have helped to fill the already crowded and cumbered world with pictures, not destitute of merit, but falling short, if by ever so little, of the best that has been done; she might thus have gratified some tastes that were incapable of appreciating Raphael. But this could be done only by lowering the standard of art to the comprehension of the spectator. She chose the better and loftier and more unselfish part, laying her individual hopes, her fame, her prospects of enduring remembrance, at the feet of those great departed ones whom she so loved and venerated; and therefore the world was the richer for this feeble girl.”

My response to this paragraph is to see it as a rationalization of the sacrifices that he sees the women of his time, and his family and acquaintance, making to support the artistic efforts of the men in their lives, including (and possibly, especially) himself—Hawthorne was extremely jealous of his current and posthumous literary reputation. There is a defensiveness in this paragraph that seems to reflect a guilty complicity in the oppression of women in this period of history.

The remainder of the chapter is taken up with an obsessive idealization of Hilda as a virgin in white, surrounded with purity (and white doves) and unstained by the realities of life, the “angel in the house,” whom Hawthorne has allowed in this novel to briefly escape her captivity and experience freedom in Rome to pursue her own muse. Nevertheless, Hilda’s muse forsakes her, and leaves her as only the “best copyist” in Rome. I wait to see whether in the end of the novel Hilda will come to a deeper understanding of human nature or will return to America and the safe domesticity which Hawthorne seems to hold in store for her character.

There are many potentialities which Hawthorne does not fully develop, especially in the characters of, and relationship between, Miriam and Donatello, but it can be a trap to talk about lost opportunities in a literary work, so I won’t dwell on that. Miriam is a compelling character, and an interesting contrast to the cold sculpture Kenyon. Kenyon only begins to approximate a human in the last third of the novel.

Do I recommend The Marble Faun? Yes, first for the beauty of the prose describing Rome, its art and architecture—these passages brought back many of my remembrances of my visit to Rome 20 years ago, during which I spent just as much time as Hawthorne appears to have done in the churches and cathedrals. Second, for the challenge to the reader of a difficult work which is not easily assimilated. There is something of worth here which I will perhaps not understand until I read it again. It evokes memories from my reading of Samuel Johnson’s The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia, and it may be worthwhile comparing them. I think I’ll give myself a few years before I return to this novel.
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Marble Faun 8 janvier 2014
Par Thomas J. Drisgill - Publié sur
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Now I know where Edgar Allen Poe learned his creative writing style. Superb writing ability from one of the first great American writers.
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