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Sketches from Memory (From: "The Doliver Romance and Other Pieces: Tales and Sketches")   By: (1804-1864)

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Sketches from Memory is a collection of stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne that offer a glimpse into the author's reflections on his life and experiences. The book starts with an introduction by the author, where he explains the purpose of this compilation - to memorialize people and events from his past.

The stories in this book are not bound by a common theme but rather by their autobiographical nature. Through his vivid descriptions and eloquent language, Hawthorne invites readers to join him on a journey through his memories, like a stroll down a forgotten path. Each tale paints a unique picture of a specific moment or person, capturing the essence of Hawthorne's life.

One of the standout stories in this collection is "The Old Apple Dealer," where Hawthorne reminisces about a mysterious man he encountered during his travels. The melancholic tone and vivid imagery create a haunting atmosphere that lingers long after the story is finished. Hawthorne's ability to breathe life into his memories is truly remarkable.

Another tale worth mentioning is "The Haunted Mind," where the author skillfully delves into the depths of his own psyche. Through vivid descriptions of his dreams and nightmares, Hawthorne unravels the intricacies of the human mind, leaving readers questioning their own introspections.

What makes Sketches from Memory such a captivating read is Hawthorne's ability to blend reality and imagination seamlessly. He blends elements of his own life with fictional elements, creating a literary mosaic that reflects his view of the world and his own experiences. Whether writing about his childhood or his adult years, Hawthorne's unique perspective shines through.

However, the book's structure could be disorienting for some readers, as it lacks a cohesive narrative. The stories are presented almost as fragmented recollections, which may make it challenging for some readers to fully engage with the content. Additionally, a deeper analysis of the underlying themes and motivations behind each story could have added more depth to the collection.

Overall, Sketches from Memory is a captivating and introspective collection of tales that provides readers with a glimpse into Nathaniel Hawthorne's inner world. Through his distinctive writing style, the author invites readers to explore his memories and reflections, blending reality and imagination seamlessly. Although the lack of a central narrative and deeper analysis may hinder some readers' experiences, those who appreciate autobiographical literature will find this collection a thought-provoking and engaging read.

First Page:



By Nathaniel Hawthorne


CONTENTS: I. The Inland Port. II. Rochester. III. A Night Scene.


It was a bright forenoon, when I set foot on the beach at Burlington, and took leave of the two boatmen in whose little skiff I had voyaged since daylight from Peru. Not that we had come that morning from South America, but only from the New York shore of Lake Champlain. The highlands of the coast behind us stretched north and south, in a double range of bold, blue peaks, gazing over each other's shoulders at the Green Mountains of Vermont.

The latter are far the loftiest, and, from the opposite side of the lake, had displayed a more striking outline. We were now almost at their feet, and could see only a sandy beach sweeping beneath a woody bank, around the semicircular Bay of Burlington.

The painted lighthouse on a small green island, the wharves and warehouses, with sloops and schooners moored alongside, or at anchor, or spreading their canvas to the wind, and boats rowing from point to point, reminded me of some fishing town on the sea coast.

But I had no need of tasting the water to convince myself that Lake Champlain was not all arm of the sea; its quality was evident, both by its silvery surface, when unruffled, and a faint but unpleasant and sickly smell, forever steaming up in the sunshine... Continue reading book >>

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