Michael Colacurcio made his considerable reputation in 1984 with The Province of Piety, his rich source study of Hawthorne's short stories. This big, bustling book introduced something unusual in academic literary studies: a relentlessly scholarly writer who nevertheless allowed his personality to come forth as an intellectual style. Famous still for its ferreting-out of Hawthorne's historical allusions, the book seemed imitable only in method; its voice was unique, so much so that graduate students like me who read it could be excused for wondering how he got away with it: I mean the brio, the bristling energy, the extravagance of 600 plus pages devoted to “old” historicist pursuits. And the clarity. At the peak of Theory's dizzying dominance, Colacurcio wrote without a hint of Continental accent. The book gave a generation of historically-minded critics their marching orders and continues to set the fundamental terms for reading Hawthorne's short fiction.

Two...

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