George E. Woodberry: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne, by George E. Woodberry, is one in a series of American Men of Letters. Of its kind it is good. Based on original researches and written by a scholar, it is neither too entirely statistical nor too obstrusively literary for the popular masses. Mr. Woodberry has not tried so much to criticize the books of Hawthorne, as he has written the story of his works and days. In places there is some literary appreciation, but it is wedged in between the scene of the author's life. The personality and the environment of the man, however, are most beautifully pictured. The lonely existence at Salem, the Old Manse, the business activity in Boston and the Salem customs-house and the latter days when this hermit was finally forced out among men—his whole life, in fact, is as lovingly told as if he were the cherished hero of a novel. Without the gossip or malice of a contemporary critic or the tedious hair-splitting of a pedant, the book is excellent as a study of Hawthorne's personality.