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The Blithedale Romance

Nathaniel Hawthorne


Miles Coverdale is a young poet who goes to work on a communal farm in New England. He joins other idealists who seek to leave behind what they see as a corrupt society, and to live off the land by honest work. They will escape the world, and at the same time improve it by their example. However, this vision of a new utopia comes into conflict with the romantic desires, past attachments, and private plans of Coverdale’s companions.

Critics noted a strong connection between the fictional story and the events in Hawthorne’s real life, even though in the preface Hawthorne insists that any such similarities are coincidental and don’t reflect real persons or events.

This is one of several “romances” written by Hawthorne, in which he allows more room for imagination and examination of the human heart. There is a sharp contrast between Puritan practicality and morals, and Coverdale’s dreamlike narration.

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