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Explorations Read-Aloud: “The Marble Faun” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, July 12 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm

Every Friday, at 11:00 am, on the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page, the library will stream a brand new recording of local thespian, Joseph Coté reading aloud selections from a wide variety of fascinating and entertaining books of fiction and non-fiction.

For July 12, Coté will read aloud from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Marble Faun.

Summary:  The Marble Faun is one of the novels Nathaniel Hawthorne himself called “romancesunrealistic stories in exotic settings.”

The central metaphor of The Marble Faun is a sculpture of a faun that Hawthorne had seen in Room. The sculptor was Praxiteles of Athens, the most renowned of the Greek sculptors of the 4th Century BCE.

In the faun’s fusing of animal and human characteristics, Hawthorne found an allegory of the Christian concept of the Fall of Man. This theme, of humanity’s descent from amoral innocence to the knowledge of good and evil, often had been assumed in his earlier works but here received direct and philosophic treatment.

The faun of Hawthorne’s novel is Donatello, a passionate young Italian who makes the acquaintance of three artists who are spending time in Rome: Kenyon and Hilda, who are both from the United States, and Miriam, who, according to the novel’s narrator, “was plucked up out of a mystery, and had its roots still clinging to her.”

When Donatello kills a man who has been shadowing Miriam, he is wracked by guilt until he is arrested by the police and imprisoned.

Donatello’s resemblance to the sculptured faun is typical of his spirit, unawakened, and looking neither before nor after, until his crime puts an end-forever to his joyous holiday existence, and remorse for it develops his intellect and his soul.

Kenyon is a good type of a cultivated American, quietly enthusiastic, tolerant and not cynical, loving art and not despising America. Hilda is remarkable for the great moral strength united with her delicacy and sensibility.

Her suffering on account of the crime of which she has been merely a witness is strongly contrasted with the attitude of Miriam, whose conscience needs to be brought to a full awakening even after participation in it; her free and strong nature having been bewildered in a maze of wrong, the one escape from which has offered itself in sudden temptation.

Click the links to find the library’s YouTube Channel and Facebook Page.

Thoughts to share? Book ideas to suggest?
Contact Joseph at friday-explorations@usa.net

55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States