Cover image for Student companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne
Student companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne
Pennell, Melissa McFarland.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xii, 172 pages ; 25 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS1888 .P46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PS1888 .P46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Unlike the current works of literary criticism available on Nathaniel Hawthorne, which are written for specialists and more sophisticated readers, this critical introduction is designed to meet the needs of high school students and general readers for accessible yet challenging literary criticism. It features a biographical chapter that relates his life to his work, a chapter on his career and contributions to American literature, and chapters that analyze his most important short stories and novels in turn. Examined are his best known and most frequently anthologized tales, and the romances The Scarlet Letter , The House of the Seven Gables , The Blithedale Romance , and The Marble Faun . Each of the novels is discussed in a separate chapter. Of additional value in the volume is a complete bibliography of Hawthorne's work, selected bibliography of critical and biographical sources, and lists of reviews of each novel and the stories, both from the time the literature was originally published and from contemporary sources.

The biographical chapter provides an overview of Hawthorne's life, including his years in Salem and Concord, Massachusetts. The chapter on his career traces Hawthorne's development as a writer, his contributions to the genre of the short story and the romance, and his influence on contemporaries and later writers. In examining the fiction itself, the chapters that follow feature close readings of texts that include analysis of setting, plot development, character development, and themes. The discussion of each novel features an alternate critical reading that introduces the reader to various critical approaches to fiction and highlights the richness in Hawthorne's work.

Author Notes

MELISSA MCFARLAND PENNELL is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where she coordinates its American Studies program./e She specializes in the American novel prior to 1900 and has published numerous books and articles on American literature.

Reviews 1

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-A superb source of accessible literary criticism. The first chapter is a biographical sketch of Hawthorne and his times, which reveals how much he was influenced by his family's history and events happening around him. The second chapter follows the writer's career and his contributions to the short-story genre and the novel. The next two chapters provide discussion of setting, plot, characters, themes, symbols, and historical context for Hawthorne's most famous short stories. The rest of the book provides similar analysis of The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun, including information on the novels' structures, the roles of minor characters, and alternative readings that challenge the most prevalent interpretations. A comprehensive bibliography subdivided into general criticism, biographies, and further reading on particular works completes this title. It also lists reviews of Hawthorne's work from newspapers and journals of his own time and by fellow luminaries. The exceptional organization, wonderfully clear and lively writing, and excellent documentation make this book a must purchase for most libraries.-Leah J. Sparks, Bowie Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Hawthorne's Career and Contributions to American Literature
Short Stories I The New England Tales
Short Stories II Artists, Seekers, and Solitaries
The Scarlet Letter
The House of the Seven Gables
The Blithedale Romance
The Marble Faun