The Idea of Community
1. For Monday I have asked you to begin to read Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance (1-47; the introduction is highly recommended). In addition, please read the accompanying essays and cultural texts:
The Idea of Community pp. 333-40, 347-52 (The Blithedale Romance, Bedford Cultural Edition)
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities pp. 1-36 (1991 edition, or pp. 11-40 1983 edition).
Please pay particular attention to Anderson's discussion of the importance of religion for imagined communities and his discussion of time and the novel. What binds this community? How does this help us understand national identity during this period?
2. Point of View: What type of narrator do we find in this text? How would you characterize him? How does this relate to Leverenz's arguments about American masculinity?
3. Masculinity: this is the second of a number of bachelors we will meet in the literature of the American Renaissance. How does Coverdale characterize bachelorhood? How does his experience compare to Thoreau's? To what extent is bachelorhood a narrative stance?
4. Feminism: What is Coverdale's position on feminism? How is our image of Zenobia shaped by his assumptions?