Citizens of Somewhere Else: Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James (Hardback)Dan McCall (author)
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"I am a citizen of somewhere else," proclaimed Nathaniel Hawthorne in his preface to The Scarlet Letter. In many ways, Henry James shared that citizenship. Intrigued by their resolute stance as outsiders, Dan McCall here reassesses these two quintessentially American writers. He focuses on their works and on their connections to American history and culture.
Adopting an informal, conversational tone, McCall invites us to join him in a reading of some of Hawthorne's and James's masterpieces-not only The Scarlet Letter and The Portrait of a Lady but their great short stories, extensive notebooks, and other novels as well. He explains the significance of James's book, Hawthorne, shows the influence of Emerson on both writers, and conveys throughout James's imaginative debt to Hawthorne. He concludes by comparing their views on what it means to be an American writer.
More than a knowledgeable and sensitive guide to two great American literary figures, Citizens of Somewhere Else offers keen observations about reading in general and the way literature is taught in colleges and universities today-suggesting that modern critics are often more concerned with their own agendas than with the substance of the works they analyze. Through McCall's eyes we gain a renewed appreciation both of James and Hawthorne and of the insights that criticism can bring to literature.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 214
Weight: 425 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 29 mm
"Reminding us of the pleasures literary criticism can provide, McCall's splendid new book on Hawthorne and James demonstrates a passion for literature, not politics. In conversational but elegant prose, McCall explores how his subjects navigated 'the relationship between the lived life and the achieved art.' . . . Fresh and incisive."-Publishers Weekly
"A surprisingly delightful book."-Washington Post Book World
"McCall . . . talks casually yet knowledgeably of these two novelists' fruitful alienation, of lives lived more in the 'land of writing itself' than in some material place. . . . The book's importance lies in its use of the the two authors and their work to look at the larger issue of what it means to be an American writer."-Choice
"McCall's jargon-free style is a plus, along with his ideas on teaching American Literature to undergraduates."-Library Journal
"It is a measure of the success of Dan McCall's Citizens of Somewhere Else that, in his perceptive and passionately argued study of the fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James, he communicates an infectious enthusiasm for the act of reading itself. . . . . More an expression of jaunty resistance than reactionary truculence, McCall's good-natured opposition to critical fashion affords his book its considerable distinction as much as his revealing perceptions. . . . Citizens of Somewhere Else is highly recommended reading."-Stephen Harris, Australasian Journal of American Studies, July 2000
"In this study of significant works of Hawthorne and James, Dan McCall exhibits a style that allows him to say what he thinks-to draw freely on his experience in the classroom, his considerable literary intelligence, and his sometimes technicolor views of recent criticism. The result is a book as refreshing as it is perceptive."-American Literature, September 2000
"McCall is especially adept at registering the passionate intensity of both Hawthorne's and James's prose, in particular to relation to sexual passion itself. . . . He also captures what we might think of as the sound or feel of American culture."-Emily Miller Budick, Canadian Review of American Studies
"Dan McCall is clearly an outstanding teacher. He writes in an informal, conversational style that gently demonstrates his passion for these two writers. . . . McCall's discussion is lively and convincing . . . McCall has a keen eye for linguistic detail, and he is at his best when carefully examining the novels and stories he explores."-Kristin Boudreay, Henry James Review, February 2001
"In the tradition of his great mentors, F. W. Dupee and Lionel Trilling, Dan McCall brings a fine literary sensibility and an accomplished literary style to bear on Hawthorne and James. His book is a reminder that literary criticism can be analytical without being unintelligible, pleasurable without being simplistic."-Lazer Ziff, The Johns Hopkins University
"An engaging, penetrating, and utterly original contribution to our understanding not only of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James but also of American civilization and of what it means to be an American writer. Dan McCall combines astonishing erudition with an easy personal style and a lucid wit fired with intense intellectual passion. He writes about these two quintessentially American writers as only a fellow artist might do, for Dan McCall is an outstanding novelist as well as an accomplished student of literature, and his intimacy with the creative process is a key to his success in this always stimulating tour de force."-Daniel Mark Fogel, Louisiana State University and Founding Editor, The Henry James Review
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