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Nathaniel Hawthorne

(1804—1864) American novelist and short-story writer


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(1804–64),

American novelist and short story writer. His stories were collected in Twice‐Told Tales (1837), Mosses from an Old Manse (1846), and The Snow‐Image and Other Twice‐Told Tales (1851); he also wrote some lasting works for children, including A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales (1852 and 1853, stories from Greek mythology). He spent in 1841 several months at Brook Farm, an experience on which he based The Blithedale Romance (1852), a novel which conveys his mixed response to the Transcendentalists. He married in 1842 and settled in Concord; from 1846 to 1849 he was surveyor of the port of Salem. He wrote The Scarlet Letter (1850), a classic enquiry into the nature of American Puritanism and the New England conscience, and The House of the Seven Gables (1851), a study in ancestral guilt and expiation, also deeply rooted in New England and his own family history. From 1853 to 1857 Hawthorne was in England, as American consul at Liverpool; he then spent two years in Italy, which provided the setting and inspiration for The Marble Faun (1860), returning in 1860 to Concord, where he spent his last years. Our Old Home, sketches of his life in England, appeared in 1863.

Hawthorne has long been recognized as one of the greatest of American writers, a moralist and allegorist much preoccupied with the mystery of sin, the paradox of its occasionally regenerative power, and the compensation for unmerited suffering and crime.

Subjects: Literature.


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