In The School of Hawthorne, Brodhead uses Hawthorne as a prime example of how literary traditions are made, not born. Under Brodhead's scrutiny, the Hawthorne tradition opens out onto a wide array of subjects, many of which have received little previous attention. He offers a detailed account of Hawthorne's life in American letters, showing how authors as varied as Melville, Howells, James, and Faulkner have learned from Hawthorne's model while all the while changing the terms in which he has been read. As he traces Hawthorne's continued life among his heirs, Brodhead also reflects on the ways in which writers receive and resist official tradition, how their work is conditioned by the institutionalized pasts that surround them, and how they go about creating new traditions to counter existing ones. An important contribution to literary history, The School of Hawthorne also establishes new ways in which literary history itself can be understood.