House of the Seven Gables

Quick Reference

A novel by N. Hawthorne, published 1851.

It deals with the problem of hereditary guilt, unmerited misfortune, and unexpiated crime, through the story of the Pyncheon family, suffering from generation to generation from the curse of old Maule, the dispossessed owner of the Pyncheon property. Pyncheon's descendant Hepzibah Pyncheon, an old spinster inhabiting the decayed paternal mansion, is obliged to do violence to the family pride by opening a small shop. Her brother Clifford Pyncheon, who has spent years in prison for a crime of which he has been unjustly convicted by the machinations of his cousin Judge Pyncheon, returns home. A young country cousin, Phoebe, arrives to lighten the gloom. Judge Pyncheon continues his persecution of Clifford until the judge's sudden death. With the help of Holgrave, a descendant of ‘old Wizard Maule’, Clifford is rehabilitated; Holgrave marries Phoebe, and the curse appears to be lifted.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

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