Nathaniel Hawthorne Books: Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer. His works often focus on history, morality, and religion. He was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning.
First published in 1850, “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study.
The novel is set in a 17th-century village in Puritan New England. The main character is Hester Prynne, a young woman who has borne a child out of wedlock. Hester believes herself a widow, but her husband, Roger Chillingworth, returns to New England very much alive and conceals his identity. He finds his wife forced to wear the scarlet letter A on her dress as punishment for her adultery. Chillingworth becomes obsessed with finding the identity of his wife’s former lover. When he learns that the father of Hester’s child is Arthur Dimmesdale, a saintly young minister who is the leader of those exhorting her to name the child’s father, Chillingworth proceeds to torment the guilt-stricken young man…
The Marble Faun is Hawthorne’s most unusual romance, and possibly one of the strangest major works of American fiction. Writing on the eve of the American Civil War, Hawthorne set his story in a fantastical Italy. The romance mixes elements of a fable, pastoral, gothic novel, and travel guide. The climax comes less than halfway through the story, and Hawthorne intentionally fails to answer many of the reader’s questions about the characters and the plot.
In a small New England town, the haunted halls of Pyncheon House trap its current owners—Hepzibah Pyncheon and her brother, Clifford—in an atmosphere of gloom and despair. Two hundred years ago, their ancestor seized the property from a man sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft. At his execution, the man placed a curse on the Pyncheons, and the family has been plagued by tragedy ever since.
Enlivened by the arrival of Phoebe, a pretty young relative who begins a tentative romance with Holgrave, their mysterious attic lodger, Hepzibah and Clifford hope that the curse has finally lifted. But before a new day can dawn, they must first contend with Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, whose greed and treachery threaten to doom the family forevermore.
“only dreamed about living.” And yet it was this period of brooding and writing that had formed, as Malcolm Cowley was to describe it, “the central fact in Hawthorne’s career,” his “term of apprenticeship” that would eventually result in the “richly meditated fiction.” Hawthorne was hired in 1839 as a weigher and gauger at the Boston Custom House. He had become engaged in the previous year to the illustrator and transcendentalist Sophia Peabody. Seeking a possible home for himself and Sophia, he joined the transcendentalist utopian community at Brook Farm in 1841; later that year, however, he left when he(…)”.
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