Spirits in the Material World


Having recently revisited James Hillman’s book, The Dream and the Underworld, I was excited to read Jeremy Kessler’s article in the New Atlantis on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s work, “The Hall of Fantasy,” in which he proposes that those who would dwell too long in the imaginative world of fantasy are susceptible to the pursuit of a single-minded vision of progress in the real world.

The Hall of Fantasy then becomes the seed bed for political reformers and revolutionaries, often blinding them from all else into a single-minded pursuit of bettering the world. A timely message for our highly politicized culture where one can hardly exist without having their own personalized sense of fixing the world. A human temptation for many, it seems, would be to change the world if they could only figure out how. The article eventually leads to Hawthorne’s caution that reform for the sake of an ideal…

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