Campus News

Bowdoin Hosts Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Meeting, Installs Exhibition

Story posted June 11, 2008

The 2008 Nathaniel Hawthorne Society Summer Meeting will be held at the College June 12-15, 2008.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, Class of 1825

The meeting, called "Nathaniel Hawthorne: Starting Over," is aptly named for several reasons.

It was from Bowdoin that Hawthorne, a member of the Class of 1825, drew inspiration for his writing.

A college similar to Bowdoin served as the setting for the novel Fanshawe (1828), his first published work.

The College also provided new personal beginnings for Hawthorne, including a friendship with Franklin Pierce, of the Class of 1824, who would go on to become the 14th president of the United States, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, with whom friendship would develop years later.

The "Starting Over" reference is also appropriate in that the first meeting of the Society was held at Bowdoin in 1976.

The Society hosts a conference biennially. It paid tribute to Hawthorne's bicentennial in 2004 in Salem, Mass. In 2006 the group was joined by the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society and the Poe Studies Association in Oxford, England.

Scarlett Letter200.jpg
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. New York: F. M. Lupton, 1893. No. 1 in the "Arm Chair Library" series, which published cheap "Dime novels" weekly, then monthly, one novel per issue.

This year at Bowdoin scholars and aficionados of Hawthorne's work will convene to listen, learn and talk about his novels and stories amid the environs that Hawthorne himself enjoyed.

The Hawthorne-Longfellow Library is hosting a welcoming reception for the meeting on Thursday, June 12, and Special Collections & Archives has installed an exhibition featuring items from the Hawthorne manuscript and book collections.

The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society is dedicated to the study and appreciation of the life and works of the author.

A nonprofit educational organization, the Society — through its annual meetings, conferences and review — provides a medium of communication among scholars and expands the possibilities for shared responses to Hawthorne's achievement.

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