“The thin delights of moonshine and romance”: Romance, Tourism, and Realism in Hawthorne’s <i>The Marble Faun</i>


Carlo Martinez
Università “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara,

“The thin delights of moonshine and romance”: Romance, Tourism, and Realism in Hawthorne’s The Marble Faun

Abstract: Hawthorne’s involvement with the logic of the tourism of his day is a key aspect of his development as a fiction writer. Starting from a discussion of the early sketch “My Visit to Niagara” the article argues that the discourse of tourism, with its protocols and practices, is for Hawthorne a fertile breeding ground and conceptual framework for the elaboration of a new rationale and a new aesthetic for the fiction writing he calls “romance.” It then explores how tourism resonates in the romance which takes it as its central thematic concern: The Marble Faun. Hawthorne’s last completed long work of fiction represents a moment of artistic and personal crisis for the author, who finds his notion of romance writing caught in a sort of double bind created by the touristic nature of his stay in Italy. As the plot of the novel suggests, in his efforts to extricate himself from the situation, Hawthorne, envisioned and experimented with a new kind of writing that led him to revise and alter radically the romance form he had previously elaborated in favor of a much more realistic style of fiction.

Keywords: Nathaniel Hawthorne; Tourism; Italy; The Marble Faun; Romance; Realism


Nathaniel Hawthorne; Tourism; Italy; The Marble Faun; Romance; Realism

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Published : 2018-12-30

MartinezC. (2018). “The thin delights of moonshine and romance”: Romance, Tourism, and Realism in Hawthorne’s <i>The Marble Faun</i&gt;. Review of International American Studies, 11(2). Retrieved from https://journals.us.edu.pl/index.php/RIAS/article/view/7475

Carlo Martinez  carlo.martinez@unich.it
Università “G. d’Annunzio” di Chieti-Pescara, Italy  Italy

Carlo Martinez is professor of American literature at the Università “Gabriele d'Annunzio,” Chieti-Pescara, Italy. Author of two books and several essays and articles, he has worked mostly on nineteenth-century US literature and on the relationship between literature and tourism. His most recent publication is an article on E. A. Poe, “‘The heresy of The Didactic’: Poe, the Literary Field, and the Aestheticization of the Market,” which appeared in Arizona Quarterly.

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