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Outlandish Apocalyptics and Creaturely Life in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘My Kinsman, Major Molineux’
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2016 (English)In: Studia Neophilologica, ISSN 0039-3274, E-ISSN 1651-2308, Vol. 88, 47-56 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article offers an analysis of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story ‘My kinsman, Major Molineux’ in terms of Frank Kermode’s characterization of modern apocalypse. In Kermode’s optic, the transformation of apocalyptic narratives in modernity reflects a generalized move towards immanence, making them inherently self-falsificatory. The analysis highlights this double logic (immanence and self-falsification) in Hawthorne’s tale by indicating how it, on the one hand, sets up a series of contrasts between the protagonist Robin and the townspeople he meets during his search for his kinsman Molineux, and, on the other, highlights the self-falsificatory nature of the post-revolutionary social order by showing how it copies the legitimating rituals of the old regime. By drawing attention to this twofold dynamic of separation and self-alienation, the article complicates an established perspective in Hawthorne scholarship that approaches the tale as a parable of the young America. Rather than merely highlighting the transition from a monarchical system of entitlement to a voluntaristic republican order, Hawthorne’s ‘Molineux’ offers an astute reflection on how the symbolism of the former – what Eric Santner refers to as the ‘royal remains’ – survives in the latter.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 88, 47-56 p.
Keyword [en]
revolution; Nathaniel Hawthorne; apocalypticism; sovereignty; ritual
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274467DOI: 10.1080/00393274.2015.1096035ISI: 000372036500005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-274467DiVA: diva2:896511
Available from: 2016-01-21 Created: 2016-01-21 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved

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Boyden, Michael
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