The New York Public Library (NYPL) just announced a “digital dump” of high resolution, primary source material for the public to use. The announcement states:
Today we are proud to announce that out-of-copyright materials in NYPL Digital Collections are now available as high-resolution downloads. No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!
Taking their directive, I found some fragments of stories penned by the literary genius Nathaniel Hawthorne. The collection of his materials is described as follows:
This is a synthetic collection that consists of manuscripts and a typescript, correspondence, diaries for 1829 and 1859, seventeen journals kept from 1829 to 1869, notebooks, commonplace books, financial documents, and pictorial works.
One fragment caught my interest:
“Hardly was the story concluded when George hastily arose, and Edward likewise, stretching forth his hand into the darkness that surrounded him, to find his brother. Both accused themselves of unkindness; each besought the other’s forgiveness; and having done so, the trouble of their hearts vanished away like a dream.”
It is not surprising that Hawthorne, an author, would have believed that a story would have been capable of bringing two brothers together in forgiveness; that there was a story written so convincingly that it was “hardly concluded” when one of the brothers moved “hastily” reaching for the other. Hawthorne believed in the power of language, that words could ease the “trouble of their hearts.”
But, what was that story?
Maybe that is what the NYPL wants someone to write.