Seven Notes from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s American Note-Books

  1. On being transported to strange scenes, we feel as if all were unreal. This is but the perception of the true unreality of earthly things, made evident by the want of congruity between ourselves and them. By and by we become mutually adapted, and the perception is lost.
  2. An old looking-glass. Somebody finds out the secret of making all the images that have been reflected in it pass back again across its surface.
  3. Our Indian races having reared no monuments, like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, when they have disappeared from the earth their history will appear a fable, and they misty phantoms.
  4. A woman to sympathize with all emotions, but to have none of her own.
  5. A portrait of a person in New England to be recognized as of the same person represented by a portrait in Old England. Having distinguished himself there, he had suddenly vanished, and had never been heard of till he was thus discovered to be identical with a distinguished man in New England.
  6. Men of cold passions have quick eyes.
  7. A virtuous but giddy girl to attempt to play a trick on a man. He sees what she is about, and contrives matters so that she throws herself completely into his power, and is ruined,–all in jest.

From Nathaniel Hawthorne’s American Note-Books.


3 thoughts on “Seven Notes from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s American Note-Books”

    1. He kept many journals, sometimes distinguished by location (American, English, Italian), and you can see the genesis of many of his stories and images and ideas and obsessions in them. I love his short fiction, but his journals are the best.


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