The literary politics of the 1830s and 1840s in America throw light on Poe's theory of narrative in his 1842 and 1847 reviews of Hawthorne's Twice-told Tales and Mosses from an Old Manse, revealing how and why Poe qualified his praise for Hawthorne's "Originality" and "Genius." Poe's objection to "repose" as the defining quality of the New England literary establishment became entangled with his growing belief that Hawthorne somehow represented that establishment. Contrary to his own literary principles of donnée, Poe failed to allow Hawthorne his "legitimate sphere" (the romantic sketch featuring a foregrounded authorial presence) and insisted instead on the superiority of his own mode of fictional narrative (more presentational or interiorly dramatized), which he called the "tale proper."

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