Northern Illinois University Press

Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne

An Iconography

Rita K. Gollin

"An elaborately researched and gracefully written scholarly study that provides much new biographical data about its subject, as well as background information on artists and an overview of the options for portraiture in nineteenth-century America. We can say without fear of cliché that, after reading this book, our view of Hawthorne will never again be the same."—American Literature

In his life and in his fiction, Hawthorne expressed a deep interest in portraiture. Frequently he speculated on the truthfulness of art or on the elusive reality shown in a well-executed image. Many of his fictional characters can be found looking intently at portraits, as if wondering whether the likeness represents what Hawthorne called "a secret character." Portraits figure into the themes and even the plots of some of his fiction, notably The House of the Seven Gables and The Marble Faun.

Hawthorne himself was often represented in portraits of various types, and in his letters and notebooks he comments on the accuracy of the fixed images of himself. An extraordinarily handsome man, he was also unusually modest; most of his portraits were made at the request of others. As a collection, his portraits provide not only fascinatingly diverse views of the man himself but also a unique account of the art of portraiture in the nineteenth century.

Richly illustrated with 68 images, Portraits of Nathaniel Hawthorne provides a chronological discussion of all the portraits of Hawthorne made during his lifetime—paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, etchings, and engravings—together with information about how each portrait was made, how it was received, and how it was reproduced. This book will be of interest not only to students of Hawthorne but also to those interested in nineteenth-century American culture.

(1983) 139 pp., illus.
ISBN: 978-0-87580-087-5
cloth $38.50

Table of Contents

Chronology of Portraits
Early American Portraits
Portraits in England and Italy
Later American Portraits
Apocryphal Likenesses
Selected Bibliography

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ISBN: 978-0-87580-087-5
cloth $38.50