A Sensational Blithedale Romance

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From the Head of Juan

The novel The Blithedale Romance by Nathaniel Hawthorne was written in 1852 in between the years of 1850-1855 the years dubbed, the American Renaissance. During this time literature in America was regarded as either low or high brow with male and female authors competing for an audience. A popular form of literature during this time was sensational literature. This literature consisted largely of inexpensive, mass-produced pamphlet novels, many of them in yellow paper jackets embla-zoned with racy titles in lurid dark lettering and melodramatic lithographs that ranged from the titillating to the horrific. Designed as ephemeral entertainment for a mobile readership, this fiction was an important barometer of popular taste and a revelation of such issues as class relations, gender, ethnicity, and the contexts of major American literature. While The Blithedale Romance was not printed with its intent of being part of this sensational movement, it shares several key components…

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