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Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 1860s
Born July 4, 1804(1804-07-04)
Salem, Massachusetts
Died May 19, 1864(1864-05-19) (aged 59)
Plymouth, New Hampshire

Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American writer. He was born 4 July 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. His first novel Fanshawe was published anonymously in 1828. Some short stories were published in 1837 as Twice-Told Tales. He married Sophia Peabody in 1842. They had three children. The family moved about Massachusetts for a few years, but finally settled in Concord, Massachusetts. The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850. The House of the Seven Gables was published in 1851. A political appointment sent Hawthorne and his family to Europe. They returned to Massachusetts in 1860. Hawthorne died on 19 May 1864.

Hawthorne's works belong to the cultural movement called romanticism.[1] His novels and short stories are cautionary tales. They suggest that guilt, sin, and evil are the most inherent natural qualities of humanity.[2] Many of his works are inspired by Puritan New England.[3] They combine historical romance loaded with symbolism and deep psychological themes. They border upon surrealism.[4] His depictions of the past are a version of historical fiction used only as a vehicle to express common themes of ancestral sin, guilt and retribution.[5]

Selected works


  1. Reynolds, David S. Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1988: 524. ISBN 0-674-06565-4
  2. Wayne, Tiffany K. "Nathaniel Hawthorne", Encyclopedia of Transcendentalism. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2006: 140. ISBN 0-8160-5626-9.
  3. Bell, Michael Davitt. Hawthorne and the Historical Romance of New England. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1980: 173. ISBN 0-691-06136-X
  4. Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007: 633. ISBN 978-0-19-507894-7.
  5. Crews, 28–29