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This volume provides a comprehensive overview of Nathaniel Hawthorne and demonstrates why he continues to be a critically significant figure in American literature. The first section focuses on Hawthorne's interest in and knowledge of past (Puritan and colonial) and contemporary nineteenth-century history (women's, African American, Native American) as the inspiration for his writings and the source of his literary success. The second section explores his fascination with social history and popular culture by examining topics as mesmerism, utopian life styles, theatrical performances, and artistic innovations. The third section looks at how Hawthorne succeeded and excelled in the literary marketplace, as an author of children's literature, literary sketches, and historical romances. In the fourth section, Hawthorne's literary precursors, peers, colleagues, and successors are analyzed. In the final section, Hawthorne's attachment to family, nature, and home is examined as the source of creative inspiration and philosophical questing.
To understand the history of cocoa and its consumption is to understand the politics of power and the economy of the privileged. Although the focus of this chapter will be power dynamics as reflected in nineteenth-century literary texts, I shall first give a brief history of the paradoxical meanings associated with chocolate – starting as a magical brew for the gods, beverage of the oppressed and exotic libation for the oppressor.
The value of cocoa and later of chocolate is inherently associated with power struggles and, as a result of its commodification, with social status and with exploitation. ‘Chocolate’ or ‘cocoa’ has its origins in ‘Theobroma cacao’, which is Latin and means ‘food of the gods’. Since its inception as a word or as a concept, cocoa has been most problematic with its dual meanings of possession and dispossession. The origin of the word ‘chocolate’ dates back to the Aztecs in Mesoamerica, in whose culture ‘xocoatal’ means the bitter beverage derived from cocoa beans, and as cocoa was seen as magical, offerings of cocoa were often made to the gods. At the same time, Aztecs would offer sacrificial victims cocoa as a palliative beverage to drink before their death, so cocoa was associated with life-affirming practices as well as death rituals. With the conquest by Hernán Cortés, the sweet and bitter aspects of cocoa became even more apparent.