I think I'm developing an addiction to my own blog. I have three followers, and three is such a satisfying, if small, number. I like the idea of coming home in the evening and tapping out my thoughts on the keyboard; my thought is, why didn't I do this sooner?
I'm in the midst of The Scarlet Letter: try reading this book aloud to thirty adolescents. You can actually see the incomprehension travel over their faces in waves. Yet I persist, because I love this book, with all of its long, periodic sentences and its digressions. This "tale of human frailty and sorrow" is moving to me, no matter how many times I read it. And I fancy I see Nathaniel Hawthorne just behind a diaphanous scrim -- I can feel his intelligence and his sensibility; I can almost see the outline of his profile.
When I teach a classic novel like The Scarlet Letter I try to make connections to more contemporary works. One novel I would like to teach along with The Scarlet Letter is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. There are two problems: we don't have copies of this book in the book room, and it isn't in the curriculum. But maybe that is the book that would really engage my students. I will probably use the Stephen King short story "The Man in the Black Suit," a vivid, creepy, and frightening story about a boy's encounter with the Devil. It is in the tradition of Stephen Crane and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and presents the Devil as a realistic character in human guise.
I'm also still trying to find time for Phineas Redux. I have to admit, it is a little jarring to one's sensibility to shift back and forth between Hawthorne and Trollope.