Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Joseph Adamson


Jeffery Donaldson



Committee Member

Rick Monture


This thesis approaches the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne from a narratological paradigm, arguing that metafiction is one of the primary elements of Hawthorne’s style and literary project as a Romantic author. Metafiction informs his themes, characters and aesthetics as Hawthorne is majorly concerned with bridging the gap between author and reader, text and physical book, and ultimately, the imaginary and the real. Hawthorne is incessant in his assertions about his work being authored works of fiction, and becomes concerned about readers properly receiving his fiction as authored literary surface. Engaging with and incorporating the work of major literary theorists such as Frye, Booth, Genette and Todorov—as well as new, emergent critics of Hawthorne—this study carefully examines his major novels, a number of his tales and sketches, and his paratextual materials. Metafiction is rarely considered in much of the scholarship discussing Hawthorne’s style, and is a convenient way of unifying many aspects of his style that have been previously fractured, including the distance and delicacy of his narration and voice, his experiments in genre, and his techniques of framing and diegesis.

McMaster University Library