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Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Short studies of American authors, Hawthorne. (search)
tempting it; and none that he could not so master as to state it, if he pleased, in terms of monosyllables. For all these merits he paid one high and inexorable penalty,--the utter absence of all immediate or dazzling success. His publisher, Goodrich, tells us, in his Reminiscences, Vol. II., p 269. that Hawthorne and Willis began to write together in The Token, in 1827, and that the now-forgotten Willis rose rapidly to fame, while Hawthorne's writings did not attract the slightest attenutiful prose ever published this side of the Atlantic,--the author of The Gentle Boy. New-England Magazine, October, 1834, p. 331. For twenty years he continued to be, according to his own statement, the obscurest man of letters in America. Goodrich testifies that it was almost impossible to find a publisher for Twice-told tales in 1837, and I can myself remember how limited a circle greeted the reprint in the enlarged edition of 1841. When Poe, about 1846, wrote patronizingly of Hawthorne