The Blithedale Romance

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Blithedale Romance

The Blithedale Romance is the third of the major novels of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Much of the action of the novel is set at Blithedale, a utopian socialist community that is founded upon anti-capitalist ideals, yet is destroyed by the self-interested behavior of its members.

Source: Hawthorne, N. (1852) The Blithedale Romance Concord : Ticknor and Fields

The author explains to the reader that the basis for the book came from the story Book Farm.
Chapter I: “Old Moodie”
The narrator talks of the Veiled Lady and Mr. Moodie.
Chapter II: “Blithedale”
The narrator describes a journey through a storm.
Chapter III: “A Knot of Dreamers”
The introduction of Zenobia and the ideals the community plans to live by during their "experiment" at Blithedale
Chapter IV: “The Supper-Table”
The community is interrupted during their first evening together by the arrival of Hollingsworth and a mysterious stranger.
Chapter V: “Until Bedtime”
Coverdale observes his new companions.
Chapter VI: “Coverdale’s Sick-Chamber”
Coverdale is bed-ridden due to illness. He is attended by Hollingsworth during his rantings, forming a friendship between the men. Zenobia visits with gruel, and he tries to discover the secrets of her past.
Chapter VII: “The Convalescent”
Priscilla visits Coverdale with a gift. Hollingsworth and Coverdale argue about the ideas of philanthropy.
Chapter VIII: “A Modern Arcadia”
Coverdale compares the feminine characteristics of Zenobia and Priscilla. He discusses the plan for the community at Blithedale, and the reaction of those outside the community.
Chapter IX: “Hollingsworth, Zenobia, Priscilla”
Coverdale studies the relationships forming between Hollingsworth, Zenobia, and Priscilla. He tries to exert his own influence within this circle.
Chapter X: “A Visitor from Town”
Moodie reappears, on a mysterious visit to see the ladies of Blithedale.
Chapter XI: “The Wood-Path”
Coverdale encounters a stranger bound for Blithedale, and begins to question his involvement with Zenobia.
Chapter XII: “Coverdale’s Hermitage”
Coverdale uses his "hermitage" to try to learn more about the stranger and Zenobia's relationship.
Chapter XIII: “Zenobia’s Legend”
Zenobia tells a legend involving the mystery of the Veiled Lady.
Chapter XIV: “Eliot’s Pulpit”
The foursome spend time at Eliot's Pulpit, discussing issues of womens' rights.
Chapter XV: “A Crisis”
Hollingsworth and Coverdale face-off regarding the ideas of philanthropy held by the former and opposed by the latter.
Chapter XVI: “Leave-Takings”
Coverdale decides to leave Blithedale for the city.
Chapter XVII: “The Hotel”
Arriving in the city, Coverdale spends most of his time alone in his rooms.
Chapter XVIII: “The Boarding-House”
Coverdale is surprised to discover the identity of his neighbors.
Chapter XIX: “Zenobia’s Drawing-Room”
Zenobia and Coverdale meet again, though much has changed since their first meeting at Blithedale.
Chapter XX: “They Vanish”
Coverdale makes an attempt to "protect" Priscilla, who chooses to leave with Zenobia and the professor.
Chapter XXI: “An Old Acquaintance”
Coverdale seeks out Moodie, trying to discover the secrets of Priscilla's past.
Chapter XXII: “Fauntleroy”
Many questions are answered in the history told by Moodie.
Chapter XXIII: “A Village-Hall”
Once again, the Veiled Lady returns. Coverdale encounters several of his Blithedale companions.
Chapter XXIV: “The Masqueraders”
Upon his return to Blithedale, Coverdale stumbles upon a strange scene.
Chapter XXV: “The Three Together”
Issues are confronted as the foursome is once again reunited at Eliot's Pulpit.
Chapter XXVI: “Zenobia and Coverdale”
Zenobia breaks down and asks Coverdale to relay a message to Hollingsworth before disappearing into the woods.
Chapter XXVII: “Midnight”
Coverdale, Hollingsworth, and Foster are forced to take on an unhappy midnight search, with tragic results.
Chapter XXVIII: “Blithedale-Pasture”
The community at Blithedale hosts a funeral.
Chapter XXIX: “Miles Coverdale’s Confession”
Coverdale makes one final confession.
  • Year Published: 1852
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: United States of America
  • Readability:
    • Flesch–Kincaid Level: 11.0
  • Word Count: 80,228
  • Genre: Romance
  • Keywords: 19th century literature, american literature
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