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The Hall of Fantasy

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Book Overview: 

The Hall of Fantasy is a short story from acclaimed author of the Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne wrote most of his stories showing the wrong deceitful side of humanity.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . erected statues of its own ephemeral favorites in wood."

"I observe a few crumbling relics of such," said I. "But ever and anon, I suppose, Oblivion comes with her huge broom and sweeps them all from the marble floor. But such will never be the fate of this fine statue of Goethe."

"Nor of that next to it,—Emanuel Swedenborg," said he. "Were ever two men of transcendent imagination more unlike?"

In the centre of the hall springs an ornamental fountain, the water of which continually throws itself into new shapes and snatches the most diversified lines from the stained atmosphere around. It is impossible to conceive what a strange vivacity is imparted to the scene by the magic dance of this fountain, with its endless transformations, in which the imaginative beholder may discern what form he will. The water is supposed by some to flow from the same source as the Castalian spring, and is extolled by others as uniting the v. . . Read More

Community Reviews

This brief essay, first printed in Pioneer, I (February, 1843), is a fine example of Hawthorne’s mature allegorical style. In it, the narrator and his friend visit the hall of fantasy where they encounter writers and artists (of course), but also planners of cities and railroads, idol momentary d...more