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Whenever I sit alone, or walk alone, I find myself dreaming about stories, as of old; but these forenoons in the Custom House undo all that the afternoons and evenings have done. I should be happier if I could write. This employment, like his earlier appointment to the custom house in Boston, was vulnerable to the politics of the spoils system.

Hawthorne was a Democrat and lost this job due to the change of administration in Washington after the presidential election of He wrote a letter of protest to the Boston Daily Advertiser which was attacked by the Whigs and supported by the Democrats, making Hawthorne's dismissal a much-talked about event in New England. Hawthorne returned to writing and published The Scarlet Letter in mid-March , [49] including a preface that refers to his three-year tenure in the Custom House and makes several allusions to local politicians—who did not appreciate their treatment.

Lawrence said that there could be no more perfect work of the American imagination than The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne and his family moved to a small red farmhouse near Lenox, Massachusetts , at the end of March Hawthorne's time in the Berkshires was very productive. They left on November 21, I have felt languid and dispirited, during almost my whole residence.

In May , the Hawthornes returned to Concord where they lived until July During his time in Italy, the previously clean-shaven Hawthorne grew a bushy mustache. The family returned to The Wayside in , [74] and that year saw the publication of The Marble Faun , his first new book in seven years. He wrote about his experiences in the essay " Chiefly About War Matters " in Failing health prevented him from completing several more romances.

Hawthorne was suffering from pain in his stomach and insisted on a recuperative trip with his friend Franklin Pierce, though his neighbor Bronson Alcott was concerned that Hawthorne was too ill. Pierce sent a telegram to Elizabeth Peabody asking her to inform Mrs. Hawthorne was too saddened by the news to handle the funeral arrangements herself. His wife Sophia and daughter Una were originally buried in England. However, in June , they were reinterred in plots adjacent to Hawthorne.

Hawthorne had a particularly close relationship with his publishers William Ticknor and James Thomas Fields. Hawthorne's works belong to romanticism or, more specifically, dark romanticism , [90] cautionary tales that suggest that guilt, sin, and evil are the most inherent natural qualities of humanity. Hawthorne was predominantly a short story writer in his early career. Upon publishing Twice-Told Tales , however, he noted, "I do not think much of them," and he expected little response from the public.

Another novel-length romance, Fanshawe , was published anonymously in Hawthorne defined a romance as being radically different from a novel by not being concerned with the possible or probable course of ordinary experience. Critics have applied feminist perspectives and historicist approaches to Hawthorne's depictions of women. Feminist scholars are interested particularly in Hester Prynne: Anthony Splendora found her literary genealogy among other archetypally fallen but redeemed women, both historic and mythic. As examples, he offers Psyche of ancient legend; Heloise of twelfth-century France's tragedy involving world-renowned philosopher Peter Abelard ; Anne Hutchinson America's first heretic, circa , and Hawthorne family friend Margaret Fuller.

In her study of Victorian literature, in which such "galvanic outcasts" as Hester feature prominently, Nina Auerbach went so far as to name Hester's fall and subsequent redemption, "the novel's one unequivocally religious activity". Powers found in Hester's characterization "the earliest in American fiction that the archetypal Goddess appears quite graphically," like a Goddess "not the wife of traditional marriage, permanently subject to a male overlord"; Powers noted "her syncretism, her flexibility, her inherent ability to alter and so avoid the defeat of secondary status in a goal-oriented civilization".

Rappaccini's beautiful but life-altering, garden-bound, daughter; almost-perfect Georgiana of "The Birthmark"; the sinned-against abandoned Ester of "Ethan Brand"; and goodwife Faith Brown, linchpin of Young Goodman Brown's very belief in God. Perhaps the most sweeping statement of Hawthorne's impetus comes from Mark Van Doren: Hawthorne also wrote nonfiction. In , the Library of America selected Hawthorne's "A show of wax-figures" for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime.

Poe's assessment was partly informed by his contempt of allegory and moral tales, and his chronic accusations of plagiarism, though he admitted,. The style of Mr. Hawthorne is purity itself. His tone is singularly effective—wild, plaintive, thoughtful, and in full accordance with his themes We look upon him as one of the few men of indisputable genius to whom our country has as yet given birth. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "Nathaniel Hawthorne's reputation as a writer is a very pleasing fact, because his writing is not good for anything, and this is a tribute to the man. Contemporary response to Hawthorne's work praised his sentimentality and moral purity while more modern evaluations focus on the dark psychological complexity.

The critic Harold Bloom has opined that only Henry James and William Faulkner challenge Hawthorne's position as the greatest American novelist, although he admits that he favors James as the greatest American novelist. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Biography portal Children's literature portal. Historic Homes of American Authors. The Preservation Press, Hawthorne's Haunts in New England. The History Press, Portrait of an American Humanist. Oxford University Press, Emerson Among the Eccentrics: Literary Publishing in America: The University of Massachusetts Press , first published Beneath the American Renaissance: Harvard University Press, Facts on File, Inc.

Hawthorne and the Historical Romance of New England.

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Houghton Mifflin Company, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, — Literary Movements for Students , Vol. The Almanac of American Letters. Trustees of the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead, Ohio State University Press. Auerbach, Nina, Woman and the Demon: Harvard University Press Berlant, Lauren.

The Anatomy of National Fantasy: University of Chicago Press Cheever, Susan.

The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Sins of the Fathers: University of California Press, ; reprinted Form and Fable in American Fiction. University of Virginia Press Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times. Salem Is My Dwelling Place: On another level, the journey is common-place, as almost all individuals discover that the journey of life tempers their youthful idealism. But there is also a personal history the weighed heavily on Hawthorne. He had two stern forefathers in his patrilineal heritage, his great-great-great grandfather and his great-great-grandfather John Hathorne. So he knew well that men could, cloaked in the countenance of goodness and piety, commit great sin.

Here is Hawthorne describing them both starting with the great-great-great grandfather: With knowledge of these biographical details, the reader can easily see the influence of his ancestors not only rise up in his drift into Dark Romanticism, but also in his writing, which was often set in colonial New England and heavily weighted with the moral complexity of his Puritan background and perhaps the deeds of his ancestors in those communities. Which brings us to his most acclaimed work.

Nathaniel Hawthorne - Wikiquote

The Scarlet Letter , a work rife with moral complexity. The Scarlet Letter was one of the first mass-produced novels in America and became an instant best seller, selling over 2, copies in the first two weeks. It has been praised for its sentimentality and moral purity by the likes of D. Lawrence , who said that there could be no more perfect work of the American imagination. Though Edgar Allan Poe -- a fellow author in the Dark Romantic Movement and influential literary critic -- wrote negative reviews of Hawthorne's stories.

Poe did not admire stories that were allegorical and moral in nature so his criticism was in form.

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  5. Though even he begrudgingly acknowledged that Hawthorne's style "is like purity itself. Now I am going to break from my biographical narrative to add a personal note. After a lifetime of reading, Nathaniel Hawthorne has emerged as one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. If you are not having fun while reading Hawthorne you are doing it wrong! For instance, My Kinsman, Major Molineaux is a comic short story and should be enjoyed as such it does have a "tragic" ending. It's the story of a young "hayseed" on his first visit to the "big city" and he suffers the embarrassments one would expect and few extras thrown in for good measure.

    It could inspire a Monty Python skit.

    1804 - 1864

    I think there is a secret to understanding and appreciating Hawthorne's body of work. And I will share that with you. But be warned; he is not a cheap date! You will have to work hard before you can truly love this writer. The price of admission is that one must read and study over the introductory chapter to The Scarlet Letter , The Custom-House.