“Hawthorne in the Berkshires”
Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Summer Meeting
June 12-15, 2014
North Adams, Massachusetts
Hosted by Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
Reconstruction of Hawthorne's "Little Red Farmhouse" at Tanglewood
In 1850 Hawthorne moved his family to Lenox, where for almost two years he produced a range of literary work: The House of the Seven Gables and a new edition of Twice-ToldTales,as well as The Snow Image and Other Twice-told Tales, A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, and other works for children. Related to this productivity were his new friendships with Herman Melville in nearby Pittsfield and Catharine Sedgwick, Grace Greenwood, and other women who were part of that “d----d mob of scribbling women.” The scenic region, which had become a summer playground for the very rich, also brought him into contact with Shakers, artists, mill owners and workers, and church-goers of all persuasions—contradictory personalities and forces which also impacted his later works. In Lenox, the Hawthornes learned of Margaret Fuller’s death with its accompanying questions about a woman’s professional role and domestic arrangements. In a nutshell, there were dizzying contradictions in Hawthorne’s observations and associations while he was in Lenox.
Melville's "Piazza" below his study at his farmhouse in Pittsfield