This second volume of Valenti’s biography demonstrates that through every vicissitude of Sophia Peabody Hawthorne’s life, transcendental optimism infused her perceptions and decisions. Her “beauty making eye,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson described her artistic talent, was also a defining trait of character--her triumph and her tragedy.
Sophia Peabody Hawthorne had been known almost exclusively as Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife, his fragile, infirm “Dove.” Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, A Life, Volume 1, 1809-1847 corrects this misrepresentation to reveal a fascinating, sensuous woman, a daring traveler, an engaging writer, and one of America’s first professional women artists.
When she was forty-four years old, Rose Hawthorne Lathrop left her comfortable home in New London, Connecticut, and her life among artists and writers. She moved into an apartment on Manhattan's Lower East Side and ran a newspaper ad inviting indigents dying of cancer to live with her and to be cared for until death. The journey that led this daughter of one of America's most prominent literary figures to that tenement is the subject of Valenti’s fascinating and far-reaching biography.