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He has roots in this soil as surely and inevitably as has a tree. The author of these poems is a man steeped in the soil of his native land, a Southerner by every instinct, and, more than that, a Mississippian. William Faulkner, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, Also by William Faulkner. See all books by William Faulkner.

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About William Faulkner William Faulkner, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, Inspired by Your Browsing History. The Penguin Book of Haiku. If They Come for Us. Hawthorn The fragility-and the durability-of human life and art dominate this story of American expatriates in Italy in the mid-nineteenth century.

Hawthorne's 'International Novel' dramatizes the confrontation of the Old World and the New and the uncertain relationship between the 'authentic' and the 'fake' in life as in art. The author's evocative descriptions of classic sites made The Marble Faun a favorite guidebook to Rome for Victorian tourists, but this richly ambiguous symbolic romance is also the story of a murder, and a parable of the Fall of Man.

As the characters find their civilized existence disrupted by the awful consequences of impulse, Hawthorne leads his readers to question the value of Art and Culture and addresses the great evolutionary debate which was beginning to shake Victorian society. Paperback , Oxford World's Classics , pages. Published March 7th by Oxford University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about The Marble Faun , please sign up. Lists with This Book. The Marble Faun was an exhausting read, as emblematic perhaps as the weighty themes within the novel itself: Each thesis is explored closely, minutely, intimately: I'm not convinced that Hawthorne offered resolution to the topics addressed, but participating in the argum The Marble Faun was an exhausting read, as emblematic perhaps as the weighty themes within the novel itself: I'm not convinced that Hawthorne offered resolution to the topics addressed, but participating in the argument was the beginning of a cleansing fire.

Everything is thrown at the reader under the guise of a gothic romance, which, in the end is its weakest motif. It rests behind the larger questions like a wallpaper, moving in tandem with the characters and the themes, but blending in the background like nondescript decor. It is such a weak presence, in fact, that Hawthorne even "forgets" to bring resolution to it and offers it, in an epilogue, a bit too neatly, all tied in a pretty ribbon.

or, The Romance of Monte Beni

Had this been done by a lesser author, it would have failed miserably; in Hawthorne, it is easily forgiven, as if the reader too has determined that it's the least important of all the themes. Who really cares about the murder and The Model, in the end, when one is being offered spiritual illumination? A glib analysis, perhaps, but arguably that was his intent when he penned this book, for finding a "healhty" spirituality had haunted Hawthorne like a bugbear all his life, and his works are laden with it. These themes, these questions are as old as man himself.


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And, in every generation, the prophets, the wizards, the magi, the visionaries, the soothsayers, the philosophers Sometimes it's a sham; and sometimes, as in this case, it's a privilege to dance in the mind of a long-dead philosopher and explore his own version of the songs of innocence and experience, for The Marble Faun is as close as one can come, in prose, to exploring the "mind forg'd manacles" that Blake drew out in rhyme. View all 16 comments. In both novels Hawthorne makes full use of his settings with a strong, tactile sense of place, though the latter's, fittingly, is not claustrophobic as is the former's.

I felt as if I were back in Rome, that without realizing it I'd followed the footsteps of the four main characters through the city, including a visit to catacombs and a nighttime walk past the Colosseum they, however, were a 3. I felt as if I were back in Rome, that without realizing it I'd followed the footsteps of the four main characters through the city, including a visit to catacombs and a nighttime walk past the Colosseum they, however, were allowed inside it at night.

From the first, though, I was struck by how different the two are in style and tone, and was even prepared for The Marble Faun to be the better book. Yet, there was much to hold my interest and to tease out: I also followed a trail of bound hands: At the start of the last chapter Hawthorne admits he has lost some threads of his plot and begs the reader not to pull on them, as doing so would not allow us to see the forest for the trees he doesn't mix his metaphors; the latter is mine.

I was fine with all of the not-knowing except for the aforementioned secret. Hawthorne hints at political intrigue, but without further illumination the beginning, in retrospect, loses much of its power. I am very happy, though, that Hawthorne chose to not clear up one other mystery: Happy Mardi Gras, y'all. View all 12 comments. Aug 09, Lorna added it. I've just, finally, finished reading "The Marble Faun" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and I now have some conception of what it feels like to have run a marathon dressed in full deep-sea diving gear.

Zeus, what a tedious, turgid, overblown book. I chose it because it was listed in a book called " books to read before you die" - but perhaps I misread the title and it was actually " books that are only marginally better than actually being dead". The style is thick and clotted, the plot lacking in I've just, finally, finished reading "The Marble Faun" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and I now have some conception of what it feels like to have run a marathon dressed in full deep-sea diving gear.

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The style is thick and clotted, the plot lacking in momentum, and the characters unreal and uncongenial. The most bizarre thing about the book, however, was the series of parallels with Donna Tartt's "The Secret History". In the first half of "The Secret History" a group of reclusive students studying Greek in New England, including one who is at the edge of the group and not quite accepted by them, commit a murder in a fit of Bacchanalian madness by throwing a man off a cliff; and in the second half the aftermath affects their relationships and their mental health.

In the first half of "The Marble Faun", a group of New England artists practising their studies in Rome, along with a rural Italian count who appears half man and half faun, commit a murder of someone who has been following one of their number by throwing him off the Tarpeian Rock; and in the second half the aftermath affects their relationships and their mental health. The book doesn't have a clear conclusion - so much so, in fact, that the author was compelled to add a four page postscript explaining some of the elements of the book that were left uncertain.

It's all totally unsatisfying: Still, as the Calvinist said after he'd fallen down the stairs, at least that's over.

View all 4 comments. My 11th grade English textbook. In middle school you were probably assigned some kind of descriptive composition. You know, the kind where you pick a Classroom Object -- a pencil, a wad of gum, your English teacher's unconvincing toupee -- and you write about it for a couple hundred words, sparing no meticulous detail.

The Marble Faun | Nathaniel Hawthorne | Lit2Go ETC

You turn the composition in to your teacher, who underlines words that could be even more thoroughly expounded. Maybe you are told you need to incorporate all five senses: How does this Object smell?


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  • Eventually you exhaust every angle from which your object can be described. You have written a perfect descriptive composition. Do you toss your hard work into the waste can? Do you let its corners yellow at the bottom of some desk drawer? You turn your description into a novel! You travel to Italy, where you tour the country's bevy of cathedrals and chapels, and you write about these edifices and each of the artworks contained therein as fastidiously as you had described your Classroom Object.

    When you've finished about two hundred and fifty of these, you lay them out as paragraphs. Between every two or three of these you add a paragraph about a person, maybe a handful of people, and you give the whole project a sense of unity by linking the descriptions to the characters and the characters to a murder. You have a classic novel, the kind that will be canonized and read for centuries to come. It worked for Nathaniel Hawthorne. An excellent hundred-page story shackled by two-hundred and fifty pages of amateur artistic criticism and tiring and tedious descriptions.

    Feb 14, Donna rated it really liked it Shelves: I loved this slow summer sojourn — a classic novel that unfolded gradually and beautifully. The Marble Faun is full of rich, atmospheric description that transports the reader instantly into the streets, the churches, the galleries, and the classical architecture of 19th-century Rome. Hawthorne is a masterful writer indeed. What could be more wholly Italian than a full paragraph devoted to a single sip of wine? There was a deliciousness in it that eluded analysis, and — like whatever else is superlatively good — was perhaps better appreciated in the memory than by present consciousness.

    We are first introduced to three American expatriates — Miriam, a painter; Hilda, who has a special talent for copying the masters; and Kenyon, a skilled sculptor. We fancy that we carve it out; but its ultimate shape is prior to all our action. It is as though, God-like, he created them from the air, breathed life into them, and then observed how they would react in times of despair, times of celebration, times of pensiveness, and times of love.

    The Marble Faun

    And then he described them to us. Throughout the story, he expertly weaves in social critique — almost lost in the narrative, yet it is the foundation upon which the tale is told. Ultimately, The Marble Faun is an allegory of the fall of Man, beautifully written and effectively conveyed.

    Did Adam fall, that we might ultimately rise to a far loftier paradise than his? Clearly this book made quite an impact. Jan 10, Nimue Brown rated it really liked it. That can be a touch frustrating. It made me want to know how modern Rome compares to this description of it, though. Not knowing the politics of the time is also a disadvantage. This is a very interesting jam on the tension between urban decay and rural renewal that authors like Thomas Hardy would later come to obsess about. I was acutely aware that no modern author would be allowed to write like this.

    Editors would rip out the long reflections on the state of art and sculpture, the passive sections, and would demand a faster paced plot, and more explanations. You could not get a book like this published any more, and in many ways we are the poorer for that development. If you are willing to slow down, not have wild drama from the first page, take on some understated romance and mysteries that will never be laid bare for you, read this, because it is a beautiful book and it will reward you.

    Jan 02, Ellie rated it really liked it Shelves: What can I say? View all 5 comments. Catching up with the classics 15 3. Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family lived for several years in Italy, and his experiences there inspired him to write The Marble Faun, or the Romance of Monte Beni. Published in , it became his best selling novel, but few readers today have ever heard of it, much less read it.

    The book opens in 19th century Rome, where a group of friends, three American artistic types and one Italian, are enjoying an idyllic summer in each other's company. Donatello is a young Italian count, who very much res Nathaniel Hawthorne and his family lived for several years in Italy, and his experiences there inspired him to write The Marble Faun, or the Romance of Monte Beni.

    Donatello is a young Italian count, who very much resembles Praxiteles' faun statue, and he falls hard for the enigmatic Miriam, who harbors an unhappy secret. The sculptor, Kenyon, loves Hilda, an ethereal copyist who, like a medieval princess, resides in an ancient tower, where she keeps the light burning at the Virgin's shrine, surrounded by doves.

    One beautiful evening, a very personal murder occurs, and the foursome's idyll is shattered. Hawthorne struggled with a title for his new book. He considered several, including Monte Beni; or, The Faun: Or the Romance of Monte Beni. Encouraged to write a book long enough to fill three volumes, Hawthorne included extended descriptions that critics found distracting or boring.

    Ralph Waldo Emerson called the novel "mush" [7] but James Russell Lowell was pleased with it and praised it as a Christian parable. William Dean Howells later wrote: The novel was adapted into an opera with music by Ellen Bender and a libretto by Jessica Treadway , completed in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Marble Faun First edition title page.

    Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times. Houghton Mifflin Company, Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. University of Iowa Press,