portrait of Zenobia
and powerful passages of realistic description, the book is not quite focussed.
In The Marble Faun Hawthorne
comes into his own again.
Its central problem is one of those dark insoluble ones that he loves: the influence of a crime upon the development of a soul.
Donatello, the Faun, is a charming young creature of the natural sunshine until his love for the somber Miriam
tempts him to the commission of murder: then begins the growth of his mind and character.
Perhaps the haunting power of the main theme of the book has contributed less to its fame than the felicity of its descriptions of Rome
possessed, like Byron
, in spite of his defective training in the appreciation of the arts, a gift of romantic discernment which makes The Marble Faun
, like Childe Harold
, a glorified guide-book to the Eternal City
All of Hawthorne
's books, in short, have a central core of psychological romance, and a rich surface finish of description.
His style, at its best, has a subdued splendor of coloring which is only less wonderful than the spiritual perceptions with which this magician was endowed.
The gloom which haunts many of his pages, as I have said elsewhere, is the long shadow cast by our mortal