Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Celestial Railroad”
A Comparative/Social Edition
Currently in development, this digital edition will allow scholars, teachers, and students to follow the rich publication history of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Celestial Railroad.” Little read today, “The Celestial Railroad” was extensively reprinted, reauthored, and referenced in American newspapers and magazines during the 1840s and 50s. “The Celestial Railroad” made Hawthorne’s reputation for many readers—especially religious readers—eight years before the publication of The Scarlet Letter, and was certainly one of Hawthorne’s most beloved works during his lifetime.
This site will provide both images and the text of each printing of the story, highlighting significant amendments or deletions, as well as any editorial introductions appended to the texts. In addition, I hope to build a web version of Juxta into the site, which will allow users to compare the text of reprintings on the fly and draw their own conclusions about the story’s reception and influence.
As I’m building the edition, I will update the project’s development blog with discoveries, progress reports, and short articles on the technologies I’m using to create the site. Check back for articles on Juxta, online newspaper archives, Google Books, and Omeka.