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Hawthorne on an early story

HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. Autograph letter signed to Henry W. Dommett

Concord, February 4, 1864

Two pages. Slight fading. Very good. Framed with an engraved portrait of Hawthorne.

Hawthorne writes, “I have copied the passage from the Threefold Destiny according to your request, and shall forward the package By express, tomorrow (Friday) morning.” Hawthorne adds in an initialed postscript that he was unsure whether to send the letter to Dommett in Boston or in New York and chose Boston. Dommett was the longtime art critic for the New York Mail and author of A History of the Bank of New York, 1784–1884 (1884).

Hawthorne’s story “The Threefold Destiny” was published in his first collection of stories, Twice-Told Tales (1837). Dommett evidently admired the story and asked Hawthorne to copy out a favorite passage for him.

“This idea of the homeward-coming of a world-wanderer was used by Hawthorne in another of his significant stories, ‘The Threefold Destiny,’ in ‘Twice-told Tales.’ This ‘Threefold Destiny’ is really the counterpart of ‘Ethan Brand,’ though we have no indication that the author designed the two to bear a complementary relation” (Richardson, American Literature, 1607-1885).