Tuesday, May 28, 2019
The Curious Style of Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown :: Young Goodman Brown YGB
The Curious Style of Young Goodman Brown The multi-faceted style found in Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown has many features of interest. It is the intent of this evidence to elaborate on these features, with support from literary critics where available. Herman Melville in Hawthorne and His Mosses, (in The Literary World August 17, 24, 1850) has a noteworthy comment on Hawthornes style Nathaniel Hawthorne is a man, as yet, almost utterly mistaken among men. Here and there, in some quiet arm-chair in the noisy town, or some deep nook among the noteless mountains, he may be appreciated for something of what he is. But unlike Shakespeare, who was forced to the contrary course by circumstances, Hawthorne (either from simple disinclination, or else from inaptitude) refrains from all the popularizing noise and show of broad farce, and blood-besmeared tragedy content with the still, rich utterances of a great intellect in repose, and which sends few thoughts into circulatio n, except they be arterialized at his large potent lungs, and expanded in his honest heart. How beautifully does this critic capture the basic attitude of Hawthorne, who avoids the noise and show and emphasizes his rich utterances. Could Hawthornes rich uterances be the conclude for Henry Seidel Canby in A Skeptic Incompatible with His Time and His Past to talk about the dignity of his style? And indeed there is a want of consistence between the scorn that our younger critics shower upon Hawthornes moral creations and their respect for his style. They admit a dignity in the expression that they will not allow to the thing expressed (62). Canby continues Hawthornestyle has a mellow beauty it is sometimes dull, sometimes prim, but it is never for an instant cheap, never, like our later American styles, deficient in tone and unity. It is a style with a patina that may or may not accord with current tastes, yet, as with Browne, Addison, Lamb, Thoreau, is undoubtedly a style. Such s tyles spring only from rich ground, long cultivated, and such a soil was Hawthornes. . . . Holding back from the new life of America into which Whitman was to plunge with such exuberance, he kept his style, like himself, unsullied by the prosaic world of industrial revolution, and chose, for his reality, the workings of the moral will. You can scarcely praise his style and designate his subjects.