American authors of the 19th century, I barely know ye. Nathaniel Hawthorne is the hotness, but I want to punch Mark Twain in the face and Harriet Beecher Stowe, you are the manipulativest with your inaccurate novelry.
I was making fun of Henry David Thoreau yesterday on twitter, mostly because the Transcendentalists annoy me with their idealistic thinky ways. You sit your asses down and join the corporate machine, sirs.
That whole 19th c. New England writer scene was kind of weird and incestuous and therefore super-fun. I mean, you've got the Alcotts, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, and Emily Dickinson. WHAT on earth.
By the way, if you call the Louisa May Alcott Orchard House with random questions, the people there are DELIGHTFUL. The people at the Emily Dickinson Museum, not as much, but they have assured me, in frosty New England tones, that I cannot say that all of the above people hung out together. There goes my mental image of Dickinson and Melville TP'ing Thoreau's cabin on Walden Pond. THANKS, DICKINSON MUSEUM.
But for reals:
Thoreau: *grumpily trods out of his cabin at 5 a.m. to contemplate mortality and the sunrise* "Aw -- DAMN YOU, DICKINSON!"
*Dickinson and Melville giggle in the bushes*
Thoreau: "DO YOU KNOW WHAT I WAS GOING TO DO TODAY? I WAS GOING TO SAVE MAN FROM THE RELENTLESS ONSLAUGHT OF SO CALLED 'PROGRESSIVE CIVILIZATION.' NOW I HAVE TO CLEAN TOILET PAPER OFF MY CHIMNEY."
Melville: "Maybe next time you won't be such an asshole about whales -- they're the gentle giants of the sea, you tool."
Thoreau: "MAYBE NEXT TIME *YOU* WON'T BE SUCH A -- A JERK. YEAH. HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES? AND DON'T YOU DARE WRITE A POEM ABOUT THIS, DICKINSON. I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE."
I should add that both museums took down my number and called me back after they did further research, so both the L.M. Alcott AND Dickinson Museums have really, really nice workers who care about their subjects. Also, if you refer to Dickinson's sister-in-law as "that lady she was into," they respond in a very non-committal way. Just FYI.