Dec. 23rd, 2016

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Hawthorne's comparative lack of linguistic ambition, and his related refusal to distract from the bold metaphor that each story is with bold metaphors at the sentence level, help him hide.

The most interesting thing in the world to readers should be why Melville rates him so highly; we underrate Melville by assuming he could simply be wrong, or lonely for a precursor from his own nation. Think about what Melville was writing, was about to write. Why would the Birthmark guy have any part in that? Why would Melville speak of him in such enigmatic, devilish terms? You could say what "The Birthmark" is apparently about at the time, after all; could even connect past religious excesses to present day varieties. Maybe not too blatantly, but a language existed to handle that. Melville did not use it.

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