TAMIU’s Mitchell Installed as President of Hawthorne Society
Posted: 06/17/2010

TAMIU’s Mitchell Installed as
President of Hawthorne Society


Tom Mitchell
Dr. Tom Mitchell was named president of the National Hawthorne Society.

Dr. Tom Mitchell, Texas A&M International University dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was installed as the president of the Nathaniel Hawthorne Society at its biennial conference in Concord, Mass., last week.

Dr. Mitchell, who also served as Conference planner, has been a member of the group’s Advisory Board for six years and president-elect for the past two years.  He is a nationally recognized scholar on Hawthorne and wrote Hawthorne’s Fuller Mystery (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998).

His fellow 2010-2012 officers include Rosemary Fisk (Stamford University), president-elect; Richard Kopley (Pennsylvania State University), secretary, and Leland S. Person (University of Cincinnati), treasurer.

Mitchell said the Society, founded in 1974, is dedicated to the study and appreciation of the life and works of the American author and provides forums for scholars to share responses to Hawthorne's achievements.

“The Society numbers almost 500 members from all around the world and publishes the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review twice a year. Its conference is held every two years, and the group also sponsors sessions at annual meetings of the Modern Language Association and the American Literature Association. Our next conference, in 2012, is in Florence, Italy,” Mitchell explained.

The Concord Conference was attended by some 85 participants from eight countries and offered some 21 sessions held over three days with 57 scholarly papers read. The Conference was held at The Colonial Inn, built in 1716, and once a boarding house run by Henry David Thoreau’s mother.

Lawrence Buell, the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University and former English department chair, was the featured speaker.  He spoke on “The Accidental Master Text: The Scarlet Letter as the Great American Novel.” Buford Jones of Duke University spoke on “The Scarlet Letter as the Great American Novel.” Mitchell delivered a paper, “'The Birth-mark’: Hawthorne’s Abortion Fantasy.”

Hawthorne's writing centers on New England and many works feature moral allegories with clear Puritan inspiration. Some works are typical of dark romanticism and include "The Scarlet Letter" (1850), "The House of the Seven Gables" (1851), "The Blithedale Romance" (1852) and "The Marble Faun" (1860).

Mitchell said the Conference site was especially appropriate.

“Concord, Massachusetts was the home of Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Bronson Alcott, and Louisa May Alcott. All are buried on ‘Author’s Ridge’ in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. These famed authors’ homes still exist and are open to the public.  Concord is also, of course, the town where the first shot was fired in what would become the American Revolution. Finally, the lake made famous by Thoreau as ‘Walden Pond,’  its official name, is on the outskirts of town and is a park site,” Mitchell noted.

For more information, contact Dr. Mitchell at 326.2460, visit offices in the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center or e-mail tmitchell@tamiu.edu.

To learn more about Hawthorne, visit: http://www.artsci.uc.edu/english/hawthornesociety/aboutnh.html

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at prmis@tamiu.edu