Melville and Hannah Crafts in Hawthorne's House
This chapter presents an examination of Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables, Melville's Pierre, and Hannah Crafts's The Bondwoman's Narrative—all of which can be read as responses to the cultural nationalism of the 1840s and 1850s, and its attendant racist and expansionist ideologies. These novels expose the pure white bloodlines touted by white nationalists as little more than fictions, thereby encouraging readers, as Brown does in Clotel, to develop a skeptical relationship to mythified stories of foundings and transmissions, especially as those stories are put to the service of making contemporary hierarchies seem logical, just, and destined. To be sure, works such as The House of the Seven Gables and Pierre, which focus so intensively on white characters, are not immediately thought of in relation to debates on slavery and race.
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