In this episode, co-host Jennifer and guest co-host Allison discuss the life and work of American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the nation’s most revered authors. They are joined by writer and magician Dale Salwak, author of the recent book The Life of the Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne, the first major Hawthorne biography to be published in two decades, featuring original scholarship on both unpublished and published sources.
About The Life of the Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Life of the Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne presents a rich and nuanced portrait of one of America’s greatest writers, exploring the thoughts and ideas of a man whose profound insights about the human condition continue to resonate in the modern day. Accessible to those with little knowledge of Hawthorne, this unique volume uses a new biographical approach based on exhaustive primary research that provides readers with a better understanding of the artist and his work.
Author Dale Salwak challenges the presumption that Hawthorne was a reclusive, eccentric, and alienated man whose relevance to modern times is diminishing. Drawing from his forty-five years’ experience reading, studying, and teaching Hawthorne, the author reveals a more approachable Hawthorne. In-depth and reflective chapters explore topics such as the circumstances that led Hawthorne to become a writer, the influence of Sophia Hawthorne on her husband’s work, the theory of the unfulfilled homoerotic relationship between Hawthorne and Herman Melville, and more.
Highlighting Hawthorne’s special contributions to American literature, The Life of the Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne is essential reading for scholars, lecturers, and college students taking courses including Literary History, American Literature, and History of the Novel as well as anyone interested in biography, literature, and creativity.
Dale Salwak is a professor of English at southern California’s Citrus College and a recipient of Purdue University’s Distinguished Alumni Award as well as a National Defense Education Act fellowship from the University of Southern California where he earned his Ph.D. He is the author of numerous books, including Kingsley Amis: Modern Novelist and Carl Sandburg: A Reference Guide, and the editor of The Wonders of Solitude, Anne Tyler as Novelist (Iowa, 1994), Philip Larkin: The Man and His Work (Iowa, 1989), and The Life and Work of Barbara Pym (Iowa, 1987).
About the hosts: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia and her new book When Women Invented Television. Allison Sansone is the Program Director at the American Writers Museum.