The Blithedale Romance

The Blithedale Romance

"The Blithedale Romance" is a novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1852.

The setting of this romantic novel by Hawthorne is a farm called Blithedale, which means a "Happy Valley." As the plot thickens, the place is eventually destroyed by the self-interest of some of its members.

The characters involved are: the narrator, Miles Coverdale, who is a minor poet; Hollingsworth, a philanthropist and confirmed misogynist; Zenobia, an exotic feminist, and Priscilla, a young mysterious seamstress from the city. An intense friendship develops among these characters during the seasons of spring and summer, but as autumn approaches, their relationships disintegrate. Ultimately, tragedy strikes.

The narrator, Miles Coverdale, goes to the Utopian community of Blithedale where he meets the famous Zenobia, an exotic feminist. While Hollingsworth wants to turn Blithedale into a colony for the reformation of criminals, Zenobia finds his misogyny irresistible and has fallen for him.

Priscilla has actually escaped to Blithesdale from the control of Westervelt, who forced her to pose as the mysterious "Veiled Lady" through whom he showed his mesmeric powers to Boston audiences. The evil Westervelt has also past connection with Zenobia. Hollingsworth seems attracted to Priscilla. When Zenobia senses competition for Hollingsworth from Priscilla, Zenobia delivers Priscilla back to Westervelt. Hollingsworth, however, intervenes and pledges himself to Priscilla.

Eventually, the story reveals that Priscilla is Zenobia's half-sister, and actually she's the chosen one to receive the inheritance that Zenobia thought was hers. Hollingswroth has chosen her over Zenobia because he needs the inheritance money to realize his reform scheme. The rejected Zenobia drowns herself. Hollingsworth and Priscilla marry but he is overcome by guilt of Zenobia's sucide. Coverdale, all along in love with Priscilla, returns to a lonely bachelor's life.

The Blithedale Romance Originally published in Shvoong:

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