The Nineteenth-Century Canon: Hidden in Plain Sight

Michael T. Gilmore

in Surface and Depth

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157765
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780199787784 | DOI:
The Nineteenth-Century Canon: Hidden in Plain Sight

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This chapter considers some of the classics of 19th-century American literature: Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Melville’s Moby-Dick, Thoreau’s Walden, and James’s The American. These canonical works toy with the edict of knowability, but unlike popular genres, they ultimately reject complete revelation as an illusion. Their protagonists gravitate to inscrutability and hide in plain sight.

Keywords: Hawthorne; The Scarlet Letter; Melville; Moby-Dick; Thoreau; Walden; James; The American; inscrutability

Chapter.  14733 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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