The Blithedale Romance, considered one of Hawthorne's major novels, explores the limitations of human nature set against an experiment in communal living. From mesmerism to illicit love, The Blithedale Romance represents one of Hawthorne's best and most sharply etched works, one that Henry James called his "brightest" and "liveliest" novel, and that Roy Male, acclaimed Americanist scholar, said is "one of the most underrated works in American fiction."
This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition is set from the definitive Ohio State University Press Centenary edition of the novel.
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.