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World News

Dreamed c. 1843 by Nathaniel Hawthorne

A dream, the other night, that the world had become dissatisfied with the inaccurate manner in which facts are reported, and had employed me, with a salary of a thousand dollars, to relate things of public importance exactly as they happen.

from Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks, c.1843, quoted in The Oxford Book of Dreams (ed. Stephen Brook, 1983). I have titled it "World News" purely for convenience.

EDITOR'S NOTE

This dream, though funny, also looks like serious career advice. Maybe it's not demanding he literally turn reporter, but it does say realism pays--and not just esthetically! $1000 then would be perhaps $100,000 now.

Hawthorne wrote a lot of fables and tall tales; while he didn't give this up by any means, his more realistic novels all came after this dream.

--Chris Wayan



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