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What is Hawthorne's eminent literary reputation—"enduring" or "hypertrophied"? Both views are represented in this basic collection of seminal 19th- and 20th-century evaluations. Hawthorne's reputation appears secure, yet his work is still the subject of significant critical controversy.

Reviews by Hawthorne's contemporaries take up the first section of The Recognition of Nathaniel Hawthorne—including an early review that predicted future greatness for the then-anonymous author of Fanshawe, and important pieces by Duyckinck, Longfellow, Poe, Melville, and Lowell. These estimates reveal many of the critical issues that were to concern successive generations of readers.

Cohen's second section, covering the period from 1865 to 1910, includes criticism by Henry James, William Dean Howells, Paul Elmer More, Bliss Perry, and William C. Brownell. In the final section, T. S. Eliot, Vernon Louis Parrington, Austin Warren, F. O. Matthiessen, Hyatt H. Waggoner, Martin Green, and Frederick C. Crews are among the critics who explore, from a wide variety of viewpoints, the complex mind of this great American writer.

The Recognition of Nathaniel Hawthorne is prefaced by a valuable survey of the criticism by Professor Cohen, and headnotes are provided for each of the selections.