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 name in Nathaniel Hawthornes Young Goodman Brown has many features of interest. It is the intent of this essay to elaborate on these features, with support from literary critics where available. Herman Melville in Hawthorne and His Mosses, (in The Literary World haughty 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 unruffled arm-chair in the noisy town, or some deep nook among the noiseless mountains, he may be appreciated for something of what he is. But unlike Shakespeare, who was strained 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 spirit in repose, and which sends few thoughts into circul ation, except they be arterialized at his large warm lungs, and expanded in his honest heart. How beautifully does this critic capture the basic military strength of Hawthorne, who avoids the noise and show and emphasizes his rich utterances. Could Hawthornes rich uterances be the reason for Henry Seidel Canby in A Skeptic Incompatible with His Time and His Past to communion about the dignity of his style? And indeed there is a lack of consistence between the scorn that our younger critics shower upon Hawthornes moral creations and their paying attention 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 undou btedly a style. Such styles spring only from rich ground, long cultivated, and such a spot 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 condemn his subjects.