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Illustrations of The House of the Seven Gables:
  Introduction Lecture

Illustrations of The House of the Seven Gables:A Help or a Hindrance?

by John L. Idol, Jr.
Clemson University

Dr. John L. Idol, Jr., Professor emeritus, Clemson University
Dr. John L. Idol, Jr., Professor emeritus, Clemson University (photography by Lou Procopio)
 
Apparently, Nathaniel Hawthorne made no effort to have any of his major romances illustrated, although he became involved in illustrations for Grandfather's Chair, a separate publication of "The Gentle Boy" with a line drawing by Sophia Peabody, not yet his wife, A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys and its sequel, Tanglewood Tales, and the separate publication of the tale "The Snow-Image" as illustrated by Marcus Waterman. English and French illustrators were quick to supply drawings for editions of The Scarlet Letter in England and France. Publishers in England and in Germany wasted no time rounding up photographs for virtual guidebook editions of The Marble Faun. While The Scarlet Letter has attracted illustrator after illustrator, The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance have been accorded far less attention. Within two years after its publication, Mary Dear, an English artist, prepared illustrations for The Scarlet Letter, and within five years of its appearance, a French artist named Jules Jacques Veyrassat did illustrations for a French translation entitled La Lettre Rouge A. Hawthorne nowhere mentions seeing either of these illustrated editions of his celebrated work. The quality of work displayed by these two artists probably would not have pleased him. Much better artistry would follow, but it came after Hawthorne's death.

He could have seen an illustrated title-page of The House of the Seven Gables in a Dutch translation, Het Huis Met de Zeven Gevels, published in 1852 by P. N. Van Kampen in Amsterdam. An elaborate drawing in the manner of 17th century Dutch painters presents Colonel Pyncheon being called upon by neighbors at his open-house. In editions following the 1852 Dutch imprint, Hawthorne's second major romance had to settle for an occasional frontispiece illustration or small drawings squeezed unto the title-page. The best of these efforts is T. Eyre Macklin's "Death of Colonel Pyncheon" done for the Walter Scott Limited edition, perhaps published in 1895. Macklin's depiction of the scene is done in the realistic manner of 17th century Dutch painters. His work is good enough to cause the reader's eyes to linger for a few moments before turning to Hawthorne's words, and it invites a second look after the reader encounters Hawthorne's description of the greedy colonel's demise. If my personal collection of illustrated editions of Hawthorne's work truly reflects the chronology of illustrations for The House of the Seven Gables, the first edition to feature drawings throughout the romance, in full- or partial-page format, was that published in 1892 by the firm of Henry Altemus in Philadelphia. Hiram Putnam Barnes did the illustrations, Of the eighty-some illustrations, nine are full-page, depicting the major characters, with Phoebe appearing somewhere in most of them, at the door of the Pyncheon mansion, in the garden with chickens, in conversation with Hepzibah, Clifford, or Holgrave. Frowning, squinting Hepzibah appears holding a miniature of her brother in her hand, and Judge Pyncheon, like the old colonel, dies alone. The full-page drawings are large enough for Barnes to suggest the emotions of the characters and the details of room furnishings. The reader can plainly see that Hepzibah is grim and weary, that Phoebe is bright and chipper, that Holgrave is a man filled with great potential for evil or good, that Judge Pyncheon is haughty. Besides helping readers visualize characters and settings, Barnes fixes his eyes on objects-chairs, bottles, chickens, plants, windows, doors, rooftops. That he was aware that Hawthorne observed of this romance as he finished it that "many of the passages of this book ought to be finished with the minuteness of a Dutch picture, in order to give them their proper effect" (CE XVI 371) is probable since he seems to have delighted in the dozens of still-lifes scattered throughout the romance. The publishers took Hawthorne's word "minuteness" much too literally and crowded Barnes' still-lifes and most of his portraits into spaces requiring only a fraction of a page. The collaborative effort of the artist to catch Hawthorne's minuteness of detail was thus frustrated, a circumstance sometimes making these small illustrations more a bother than a help. Concern for the bottom-line rather than a dedication to handsome, appealing bookmaking kept Barnes' illustrations from doing justice to the romance. Even at their best, Barnes' full-page illustrations have something wooden and static about them; there is little suggestion of motion or interaction with others in his depiction of the major characters, with the result that they appear stiff and lethargic. That this pioneer illustrator of The House of the Seven Gables failed to get off to an auspicious start is underscored by the fact that publishers have not pillaged his work for covers of paperback editions of the romance or cheaply produced volumes parading as fine specimen of the bookmaker's art.

The work of Maude and Genevieve Cowles deservedly fared much better than that of Barnes, for Houghton Mifflin obviously wanted to display more of the book-makers' art in their publication of the Cowles sisters' illustration, both in a separately published edition of the romance in 1899 and again in the so-called Autograph Edition of Hawthorne's works published the following year. For a two-volume edition of the romance, Houghton Mifflin commissioned the Cowles sisters to provide ten illustrations for each of the two volumes. All drawings would be full-page and protected by thin sheets of inlaid paper bearing the titles of the illustrations. To provide further evidence of a well-made book, Houghton Mifflin engaged Maude and Mildred Cowles to do head-pieces and decorated initials for the beginning page of each (a few head-pieces are repeated).

The Cowles sisters obviously read Hawthorne's Gothicized romance closely, an impression one quickly forms after seeing Maude Cowles' depiction of the seven-gabled house as the frontispiece. It is indeed a decorated house with an overhanging second story, massive central chimney, and a large elm as its companion. Maude reflects Hawthorne's interest in the minuteness of detail in her rendering of the scene in which Hepzibah gazes fixedly on the miniature portrait of Clifford. Not to be outdone by her sister, Genevieve Cowles captures the sunny traits of Phoebe that Hawthorne stresses about her in the garden scene in which she feeds the degenerated remnants of the Pyncheon flock of chickens.

Unlike Barnes, the Cowles sisters present characters that seem to breathe, have blood in their veins, thoughts in their minds, and feelings in their hearts. These qualities, of course, enable us to see them as personalities involved in drama that we want to see played out. Will Phoebe brighten the dark and dismal house? Will Clifford emerge from his shell? Will Hepzibah's scowl melt into a smile? Will Holgrave find just the right words to win Phoebe's love? I'm suggesting that the Cowles sisters understood an illustrator's role, which is being a collaborative artist capable of helping a reader visualize the words of an author. In an age where the visual receives far more attention than the verbal, the Cowles sisters' illustrations of The House of the Seven Gables should be far better known than they are. Houghton Mifflin didn't help their cause when, in the most deluxe edition Hawthorne's works were ever to have, the Autograph, the publisher reduced the number of their illustrations for The House of the Seven Gables to nine, more than a 50% reduction. On the plus side for this limited edition is the printing quality, for the prints were done on high-priced paper and thus escaped the murkiness that comes with cheap paper. We get the full 20 illustrations again in the Franklin Library edition (1982) but on inferior paper, with the result that the prints appear cloudy and dark, with the loss of much of the detail that one enjoys while looking at the plates in the Autograph edition. If you know the work of the Franklin Library, you are aware that the emphasis of the firm is to produce collectors' editions with handsome bindings, gilded leather, the kind of thing that ends up, unread, on the shelves of people deeper of pocket than of mind.

For present-day teachers turning to the past for help in introducing modern youth to Hawthorne's classic tale of decay, revenge, rescue, and triumphant love the illustrated edition offering the most substantial and honest aid is that of Hannah Davidson, a teacher herself. For the Riverside Literature Series designed for use in high school classes, Davidson prepared material still useful for anyone wishing to explore how Hawthorne drew upon his Salem background when he was writing the romance. She forthrightly states the principle underlying her choice of illustrations:

A romance which strives to present the features and characteristics of a past generation, especially in a community isolated and individualized by unique experiences, finds an interpretation of its very spirit and meaning in illustrations chosen faithfully from the surroundings which fostered the life the author portrays. The illustrations in this edition of The House of the Seven Gables are intended to serve a distinct purpose. They have been chosen from the immediate environment of Hawthorne's life in Salem, and, in addition, each one illustrates in some way essential features of the scenes of the romance, or of the life it represents. There has been no attempt to assemble illustrations which are interesting merely through some accidental relation to the scenes of the story or the life of the author. (380)

She chose twelve illustrations, some of them photographs, one of them a map, one of them a reproduction of a portrait of an early Puritan, two of them etchings, and one of them an architectural rendering of a seven-gabled house by Boston architect William H. Brainerd who worked from details about the house given by Hawthorne. Davidson studiously avoided pointing to the Turner-Ingersoll house as Hawthorne's sole inspiration. Her map indicates the location of other old Salem homes that Hawthorne would have known-the Curwen, the Pickering, the Lewis Hunt, and the Deliverance Parkman Home. Her interest in Salem architecture led to an appended essay entitled "The Imaginary Houses of the Seven Gables," in which she discussed the historical background of the type of house Hawthorne described. Her researches inform her notes and captions and represent a pioneering effort in materials history. The thoroughness of her work can be seen in the her efforts not only in suggesting how Hawthorne incorporated features of Salem houses in the romance but also in certain of his tales and sketches. She indeed did her homework, much of it in the Essex Institute. Among the helpful steps she took was using photographs of the Salem Almshouse (Uncle Venner's "Farm") and the Salem railroad station, long since victims of wrecking crews. These images can be reclaimed for modern readers, too, thanks to the efforts of the Peabody-Essex to preserve Salem's past. From a scholar's standpoint, however, it's comforting to know that such an edition as Davidson's exists and can be drawn upon by modern teachers and students as well.

If I may digress briefly from the subject of illustrations, I'd like to point out how this edition could be helpful in other ways, for it truly is a gold mine for educators. Davidson prepared more than 40 pages of material to aid in the study of the romance. In addtion to the aforementioned essay, "The Imaginary House of the Seven Gables," she discusses the element of romance, which she distinguishes from other forms of fiction, gives notes where she thinks readers need help, supplies references for the study of Hawthorne's life and works, suggests topics for students to use as they keep a note book on their reading, draws up questions for students to respond to as they make entries in their note books, and suggests topics for longer papers. Some judicious cribbing from her aids would be a wise move, not just for the harried teacher but the thoughtful one as well. That teachers of her era saw the worth of the edition accounts for the several reprints it enjoyed. She did some revising over the years, but for my money, the 1904 issue is the keeper.

Some four years later (1908) an event occurred-the purchase of the Turner-Ingersoll House on Turner Street-that proved to be, for a time, a major factor in how illustrated editions of the romance would be published. When Caroline Emmerton bought the old house on Turner Street, she also bought into the legend that this was the house Hawthorne had taken as the model for the Pyncheon mansion. It's true that Hawthorne knew the house, for a kinswoman once owned it and entertained him there. When Emmerton purchased the house, it had given back to time all but three of its gables, as is shown in a postcard of the house dating from 1905. Needing a money-maker to support the settlement house that she had established, Emmerton began showing the house for a entrance fee. Meanwhile, she sat about restoring the house, engaging an architect, Joseph Edward Chandler, to help her. He was familiar with Colonial architecture and led her to the discovery of the position of three of the missing gables. They were replaced. Unhappily, for them, as things turned out, they went ahead with the construction of a seventh gable, since, by tradition, the house had sported a seventh one. Further study of the building revealed the presence of another original gable, the authentic seventh, if one cares much about the truth. Now the question was, "Should a gable be situated where the original seventh had been be built?" Emmerton's quandary is reflected in the following passage in her account of restoring the house:

I was well laughed at when I told friends that I meant to have eight gables on the House of Seven Gables. To console me my friends suggested that Hawthorne called his novel "The House of Seven Gables" because that title was more pleasing and less prosaic than the "House of the Eight Gables" would have been. (The Chronicles of Three Old Houses, 34)

Despite the evidence before her that Hawthorne's knowledge of the old house was superficial at best, Emmerton pushed ahead with her efforts to transform it into the house that Hawthorne had moved from Turner Street into the pages of his romance. She remodeled the house to give it the requisite number of gables, choosing to keep the one at back rather than to build an authentic seventh over the front entrance, setting up a cent-shop, and furnishing the house in such a manner as to be able to say that a certain room was Phoebe's, that a particular window was the one Clifford had stood at as he gazed upon the street below. As far as possible, life was following art, although she was puzzled to find that Hawthorne had made no apparent use of the secret passage way that the Turner-Ingersoll house has.

Never reluctant to offer the reading public still another edition of the romance, Houghton Mifflin in 1913 issued a new one, with an introductory note by Emmerton and twenty photographs by Charles S. Olcott. The front cover sports an etching of the Turner-Ingersoll House, the frontispiece is a photograph of the front and south side of the house. Within the volume are pictures of rooms bearing captions such as "Phoebe's Room," "Clifford's Room." Other views allow us to see the kitchen, parlor, attic, and dining room. For good measure, Houghton Mifflin threw in photographs of Hawthorne's birthplace, the Hawthorne house on Mall Street, and the Grimshawe house, where Sophia lived before marriage to Nathaniel.

The concluding paragraph of Emmerton's note, in which she briefly narrates her efforts to restore the house, expresses her certainty that the Turner-Ingersoll House was Hawthorne's model:

In restoring the house some compromises were made with historical accuracy in fitting it for use as a settlement, but nothing was changed to make the house fit the story. There being no authority, for instance, for a balcony or overhang over the shop, these features were not supplied. they were probably flights of fancy on Hawthorne's part and support his statement that he used "material of which air castles are built." However, to the careful student the points of difference are trivial compared with the underlying resemblance which assures us that the ancient mansion on Turner Street well deserves the name, by which it has been known for decades, of the House of the Seven Gables. (11)

For students introduced to The House of the Seven Gables by the edition prepared for Allyn and Bacon (1922) by Marion Merrill, a teacher from Somerville, Massachusetts, Emmerton's claim must have seemed fully supported, both by what Merrill said in his introductory remarks and the photographs he chose to use. For the frontispiece, he selected a shot of the house from the garden; elsewhere appears a photo of the house as seen from Turner Street. There are several pictures of the interior and a few showing details of the exterior. Merrill also offered pictures of Hawthorne's birthplace, Sophia's family home, homes of the Hawthorne's following their return to Salem after leaving Concord, the Wayside upon their return to Concord, and Hawthorne's grave there. Two portraits of Hawthorne are also reproduced. For all its richness of illustrations, all of them full-page, an unwary reader would likely have come away from the romance believing that the Turner-Ingersoll was unquestionably Hawthorne's model. Although his intention to help students visualize the house was good, Merrill's failure to approach the question of which house(s) served as possible models, as Hannah Davidson had done, was a disservice to his readers.

The Emmerton claim was to reach far beyond Merrill, however, as can be seen in the cover art for paperback editions of the romance.

To Helen Mason Grose goes the honor of having provided the greatest number of full-page illustrations for the romance in an edition appearing in 1924 and published by you know who. As of 1952 this edition had gone through 19 printings, serving readers from the Roaring 'Twenties up to the Baby Boomers. In minutely detailed paintings in color and in woodcuts done in black and white, she presented a prettified, sentimental, and energized set of illustrations. Her characters interact, especially in the paintings, and she showed a knack for choosing dramatic scenes where reader interest in most intense, for example, when Judge Pyncheon attempts to kiss Phoebe. Grose depicts her drawing back just as Judge leans towards her, his lips in full pucker. Hepzibah's consternation upon seeing Ned Higgins enter her cent-shop is vividly captured. Grose has been attentive enough to Hawthorne's text to render the house with an overhanging second story. Her efforts as a collaborative artist won't likely draw applause from mature readers, since she seems to have supplied illustrations suitable for readers in Houghton Mifflin's Riverside Bookshelf Series. In that series were such titles as The Log of a Cowboy, The Story of a Bad Boy, A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, Tanglewood Tales, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. The readership in mind no doubt had a major bearing on the prettified, sentimental quality of Grose's work. No doubt the most celebrated illustrator asked to prepare a set of pictures for The House of the Seven Gables was Italian-born, California-raised, Valenti Angelo, whose colored drawings appeared in the Heritage Club edition in 1935. His oval-shaped and colored illustrations stand at the head of each chapter, each illustration meant to convey the principal mood or event in the chapter it introduces. Here there is no minuteness of detail, nothing resembling Dutch painting at its most realistic. Rather almost ghost-like figures and indistinct structures bring out the gravity and melodrama of Hawthorne's blend of New England Gothicism and the emerging elements of realism in American fiction. One is inclined to say of these broad strokes and the melancholy feelings evoked is that they haunt the book. One is also inclined to say that Angelo wanted to project in his illustrations those qualities which Hawthorne associated with the romance as a distinct form of literature. Here are words that Angelo must have seized upon as he read the romance:

If [the writer] think fit ... he may so manage his atmospherical medium as to bring out or mellow the lights, and deepen and enrich the shadows, of the picture. (xv)

Angelo's illustration, in their dark hues of reddish-brown and sage and their lighter hues of yellow and blue, never let us forget that we are reading another of Hawthorne's Americanized Gothic tales. (All of the foregoing sentence would be dead wrong if you were to pick up a later edition of the romance by Heritage Press, for the edition of 1963 presents these same oval-shaped wood or linoleum cuts monochromatically in a dark green, robbing them of their contrasts of light and dark and ability to convey mood. Any hint of Gothicism is missing; the illustrations become mere decorations, a sad fate for the imaginatively conceived work that Angelo originally prepared for the romance. If you want to see a most unflattering portrait of Hawthorne, you should see Angelo's bust of him in the Easton Press edition published in 1979. He looks fierce enough to frighten even a pride of starving lions. And by way of alerting any of you who may use Twice-Told Tales, I digress here to tell you that Angelo also illustrated that work.

A frankly derivative illustrated edition of the romance appeared in 1950 as one in a series published by Dodd, Mead and Company as "Great Illustrated Classics." Its fifteen illustrations are drawn from already existing drawings and photographs. The photographs are those made by Charles Olcott for the 1913 edition. Since that's the case, we have a photograph of the Turner-Ingersoll house. Also chosen for this edition is a photograph of the so-labeled "Phoebe's Room." Besides the photographs, the edition provides portraits of Hawthorne and Sophia, drawings of the house he lived in during the family's removal to Raymond, Maine, a reproduction of a painting of Washington Street done in 1765, and sketches of Hawthorne's birthplace and Bowdoin College. The result is a hodgepodge of visual material that offers little help in gaining an understanding of the romance.

An interesting set of illustrations by an artist whose work is identified only by a "W" in a few of the drawings appeared in the L. W. Singer edition of the romance in 1957. Of its 18 black and white illustrations, five are full-page. As subjects of illustration we see familiar persons and scenes, for example, Hepzibah gazing at a miniature painting, Phoebe feeding chickens, Clifford blowing bubbles. But the unidentified artist chose a dramatic scene that no other illustrator selected, the encounter between Alice's father and the carpenter. Here we see the two men in 18th century garb. While it's not a great example of an illustrator's art, it does offer help in visualizing the clothing and furnishings of 18th century America.

I come now to a form of illustrated books that students for decades have been tempted to turn into ponies-and many of them may have succeeded. I'm speaking, of course, of the comic-book-like illustrated classics, those publications that give us realistically drawn characters and places with a bare-bone version of the story. In the earliest manifestation of presenting the romance in the form of serial drawings, the concluding scene became more Poeish than Hawthornean, for we see the seven-gabled house going down in flames, not exactly a reprise of the ending of "The Fall of the House of Usher" but in the same spirit. The most recent publications of this type, one by Pendulum Press (1977), the other by Acclaim Book (1997), remain true to Hawthorne's story, but, necessarily, must forgo all those minute details that give us a sense of place, person, and emotional interaction among the characters. Somewhat like English poets of the Middle Ages who retold tales originating on the continent, the publishers and their hacks give us action, the latter book sticking fairly closely to Hawthorne's wording.

Remove a touch here, a touch there, the houses depicted in these books could well be inspired by the Turner-Ingersoll House, especially the house in the Pendulum Press book. I dwell on this fact for just a moment to point out that the Turner-Ingersoll House figures prominently and unmistakably in two recent editions of the romance, A Wordsworth American Classics edition sporting a cover by Christopher Gurshin, who did a montage of the house from various views of the site, the other a Dover Thrift edition featuring a photograph of the house as seen from Turner Street. Willy-nilly, then, many students who come to the romance by way of these two editions will be led to think that the Turner-Ingersoll House is the House that Hawthorne described. Since your students are not likely to come upon the Pendulum Press version, you should expect to see only the Acclaim Book version gallop in as a pony. Your students could ride it a short distance and be helped by their ride. It preserves a good deal of Hawthorne's language, presents characters in authentic 19th century garb, and offers both critical interpretation and background material, fulfilling its promise of being something of a study guide. It strives to be student and teacher friendly. The art work is by George Woodbridge, the cover by Chuck Wotjkiewicz. There's a hi-tech touch as well, since a computer was used in the recoloring. The geeks, nerds, and techies in your class might look into the process and apply it to another Hawthorne work, if they can team up with someone gifted in art. As you can tell from my description and comment on this present-day version of illustrated classics, Acclaim Books has made a serious effort to make The House of the Seven Gables a worthwhile visual experience for students who've spent far more time watching TV and going to the movies than they have reading 19th century classics. The book can be a help, used in the right way.

Among contemporary illustrators, Barry Moser, whose work can be seen in The Scarlet Letter, holds a high position. The influence of his work, noted for its bold strokes, imposing figures, and psychological insight, can be seen in David Frampton's illustrations for the Reader's Digest edition of The House of the Seven Gables (1985). Frampton provided eight full-page illustrations as well as head- and tail-pieces. On the frontispiece appears Maule pointing his finger and screaming his curse. We see also Hepzibah trying to keep shop, Phoebe meeting Holgrave in the garden, Judge Pyncheon puckering up to kiss Cousin Phoebe, the organ-grinder and his monkey, Phoebe leaving the old mansion, a procession of Pyncheons past, and the revelation of the secret. The large, bold figures dominate the page and seem to burst with energy. They look less like 19th century figures going through the motions of being characters than ideas set in motion. For that reason, they harmonize well with Hawthorne's presentation of character, for he is more interested in clashes of ideas than he is in realistic rendering of flesh-and-blood people.

Frampton's head-piece for each chapter is an idealized depiction of the Turner-Ingersoll House. Taken as a set, Frampton's illustrations promote rather than hinder an imaginative reading of the romance. True, they lack the minuteness of detail seen in 17th century Dutch painting, but if we ask of the illustrator, as I think we should, that his or her art be a means by which we come to a fuller, better, understanding of the work being illustrated, then Frampton has succeeded.

If you've had your mental calculator going, you're aware that I've talked about books in the order of their appearance. The decision to follow the calendar left me with no choice but to speak of a set of illustrations done over a hundred years before those of Frampton and almost thirty before those of the Cowles sisters. Apparently, a set of illustrations done in 1871 by C. G. Bush were not used until 1986, when Edward Stevenson, then executive director of the House of the Seven Gables, turned to the Essex Institute for Bush's drawings. Whether Bush illustrated the romance for his own pleasure or at the request of some publisher is a question I haven't answered. How his drawings ended up in the Peabody-Essex is something else I'd like to know. Unless another set comes along that we can unquestioningly date prior to 1871, Bush's illustration came first, some twenty years after the publication of The House of the Seven Gables. Ten of his illustrations appear in this edition: a frontispiece depicting a seven-gabled house, Hepzibah alone, Ned Higgins with Hepzibah, Phoebe feeding chicks while Holgrave looks on, Clifford and Hepzibah together, Judge Pyncheon attempting to kiss Phoebe, Clifford with Phoebe, Uncle Venner, Hepzibah and Clifford leaving the house, Colonel Pyncheon receiving guests. These are scenes and characters that later illustrators will also depict. Bush's art is workmanlike, a dependable if uninspired series that helps us visualize Hawthorne's romance. Unlike the art of Edmund Dulac and Maxfield Parrish for Hawthorne's children's stories, Bush's illustrations won't drive the price of this edition of The House of the Seven Gables through the roof, but is good to see them outside the shelves of the Essex Institute. I'd like to see some solid research done on them and on Bush. Any takers here? I find this edition especially interesting because, as a hardback version of the romance sold in the sales shop at the House of the Seven Gables, there's something like having your cake and eating it too about this book, for on its dustjacket is a color photograph of the Turner-Ingersoll House as seen from the garden and inside the front cover and the page facing is a mood-setting photograph of the Turner-Ingersoll house as seen from Turner Street. A similar photograph of the house as seen from the garden appears inside the back cover and the facing page. I debated whether I should mention another form of serial representations of the romance, serial representations in the form of tableaux vivants, that is, a movie based on Hawthorne's masterpiece. Since, however, some unsuspecting student, or possibly teacher, could ruin an evening by staying at home to watch Vincent Price and George Sanders star in Hollywood's adaptation of the romance. You'll instantly see how far Hollywood strayed from Hawthorne's text when I tell you that you meet two sets of lovers in the movie-Phoebe and Holgrave yes, but who are the others you ask. You'll be shocked to hear that they are named Clifford and Hepzibah. No, we're not dealing with incest here, since the relationship of Clifford and Hepzibah has been changed. They must combat the evil Judge if they are to find justice and happiness. Win they do, of course, but at the expense of Hawthorne spinning like some dervish in his grave.The book is filled with some finely reproduced stills from the movie and a synopsis of the action as adapted by Lester Cole from the screenplay by Carl Green and William Sanford. Students interested in seeing how Hollywood transforms books into movies could find much to inform and entertain them here. A more interesting project, however, would be exploring the various cinematic presentations of The Scarlet Letter, but you're not paying me to talk about that romance. I turn now to a set of illustrations not found in an edition of The House of the Seven Gables but rather in a fascinating book edited by Rosalind Ashe and entitled Literary Houses: Ten Famous Houses in Fiction. Various illustrators took part in this visualization of homes given prominence in literature, including the homes of Jay Gatsby and Dracula besides that of the Pyncheon. The illustrator for Hawthorne's fictional house was Roy Coombs, who, like other artists engaged for the project, drew as much help from the author as possible while rendering an imaginative version of the house. Here we get exteriors, interiors, floor plans, furnishings, portraits, the garden, a guided tour (our guide being Holgrave). We get some mistakes, too, for example, 1853 as the publication date of The House of the Seven Gables. Considered as a whole, the illustrations do reflect a conscientious attempt to depict the house as Hawthorne describes it. The work of Coombs deserves a close look for, like Hawthorne's seven-gabled house, Coombs' house seems built of "materials long in use in constructing castles in the air" (Preface to The House of the Seven Gables). As collaborative in spirit as Hawthorne and Coombs appear to be, I doubt whether Hawthorne meant to demonize the ornamentation of the exterior. Putting demon-faces there is a Gothic touch, but a touch too much I think. Still I'd recommend that you find a copy of this book and share it with your students because, better than anyone else, Coombs has the minuteness of detail that Hawthorne ascribed to this romance. Another part of the history of illustrated editions of The House of the Seven Gables began with the coming of the paperback revolution in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Although some paperback editions of the romance simply used the title and Hawthorne's name on the cover, most of them had cover art, art meant to catch and hold the eye of browsers checking out titles in the fiction section. The cover art usually follows one of three main types: (1) photographs of, or artistic renderings inspired by, the Turner-Ingersoll House, (2) illustrations featuring one or more of the principal characters with or without a house as a backdrop, (3) illustrations depicting a house prominently and including, on a smaller scale, one or more of the main characters. Placed among novels and romances by modern-day authors, Hawthorne's work, as well as that by his contemporaries and predecessors, had to compete for attention among works often forthrightly lusty or lurid in subject matter, the gruesome blending with the sexual in a Hollywoodish kind of way. Cover art for fiction seemed to be much the same as poster art for movies-something meant to lead a would-be customer to buy a book or a theater ticket. Not much has changed in the half century plus that Hawthorne's romance has been marketed in the fiction section of bookstores. If you step to the Classics Section, however, you'll find a different principle at work, a principle dictated, apparently, by what publishers view as good taste. If the romance is sold as a classic, it will sometimes have a reproduction of a celebrated portrait or photograph of Hawthorne. If not one of those, then the reproduction of some painting that suggests 19th century life, such as Van Zandt's painting of a well-dressed gentleman riding a sleigh. If the edition is a deluxe hardback, the cover may have only the title and author's name. If you choose to enlist the aid of illustrations in presenting Hawthorne's works to your students, you'll want to explore the resources of the Peabody-Essex. Check the Frazer Clark Collection and then move to my bequest of paperback editions of Hawthorne's work. The Houghton Library at Harvard and the Boston Public Library have relevant materials also. Dealers in used books can lead you to some interesting, if expensive, material. And don't forget the Internet. Because we live in an age where students have been reared on visual images, illustrations can be the magnet that pulls them into a book. Your role as a teacher is to find the best and strongest magnets. I have suggested some for The House of the Seven Gables. If you choose to use The Scarlet Letter, or have it chosen for you to teach, you'll find several illustrated editions in hardback and dozens of paperbacks with cover art. Few illustrations have been done for The Blithedale Romance. The story is much different for The Marble Faun-illustrated editions abound, most of them stuffed full of photographs of Roman scenes and art works in Roman galleries and museums. Whether illustrations help or hinder a study of a particular Hawthorne work depends largely on how teachers and students use them. The most harmful result, obviously, is trying to make illustrations alone tell Hawthorne's tale. The most helpful result is discovering illustrations in which the author and illustrator interact cooperatively to bring a story fully alive. When we can both enjoy and appreciate the artistry of both author and illustrator, a book can become something we cherish and never forget, for words and pictures imprint messages and images we can't erase, even if we press the "clear" button on our brains.






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