Here in one volume are all five of Nathaniel Hawthorne's world famous novels. Written in a richly suggestive style that seems remarkably contemporary, they are permeated by America's and Hawthorne's own history. The House of the Seven Gables moves across 150 years from an ancestral crime condoned by the Puritan theocracy to a new beginning in the bustling and democratic Jacksonian era. Hawthorne's masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, is a dramatic allegory of the social consequences of adultery and the subversive force of personal desire in a community of laws. The Blithedale Romance explores the perils, which Hawthone knew firsthand, of living in a utopian community, and the inextricability of political, personal, and sexual desires. Fanshawe is an engrossing apprentice work which Hawthorne published anonymously and later sought to suppress. The Marble Faun, his last finished novel, involves mystery, murder, and romance among American artists in Rome.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of proud New England seafarers. He lived in genteel poverty with his widowed mother and two young sisters in a house filled with Puritan ideals and family pride in a prosperous past. His boyhood was, in most respects, pleasant and normal. In 1825 he was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and he returned to Salem determined to become a writer of short stories. For the next twelve years he was plagued with unhappiness and self-doubts as he struggled to master his craft. He finally secured some small measure of success with the publication of his Twice-Told Tales (1837). His marriage to Sophia Peabody in 1842 was a happy one. The Scarlet Letter (1850), which brought him immediate recognition, was followed by The House of the Seven Gables (1851). After serving four years as the American Consul in Liverpool, England, he traveled in Italy; he returned home to Massachusetts in 1860. Depressed, weary of writing, and failing in health, he died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.
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