Cover image for The scarlet letter & The house of the seven gables
The scarlet letter & The house of the seven gables
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864.
Toby Press edition.
Publication Information:
[New Milford, CT] : Toby Press, 2003.
Physical Description:
xxxix, 568 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
"The scarlet letter was first published in 1850. The text of the Toby Press edition is based on the first edition published by Ticknor, Reed and Fields, Boston, 1850."--T.p. verso.

"The house of the seven gables was first published in 1851. The text of the Toby Press edition is based on the first American edition published by Ticknor, Reed and Fields, Boston, 1851."--T.p. verso.
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X Adult Fiction Central Library

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Considered a masterpiece of American literature and a classic moral study, The Scarlet Letter is set in Puritan Boston. Hester Prynne, a young woman married to a much older man, has arrived in New England before him and has not heard from him for many months. He is presumed lost at sea. She bears an illegitimate child and is sentenced to wear a red A as a badge of shame. By the end of the ensuing drama, it is her husband who is morally degraded, and her lover who is broken by his own sense of guilt. A time-worn mansion in Salem is the setting of The House of the Seven Gables, the story of a distinguished but troubled New England family -- the Pyncheons. A haunting, centuries-old curse, a forceful probing of national and personal guilt, a romance between the young heroine and an attractive stranger -- all intertwine in this work that Henry James declared "the closest approach we are likely to have to the Great American Novel." The text of The Toby Press edition is based on the first editions of these works, published in 1850 and 1851 respectively, and includes Hawthorne's preface to the second edition of The Scarlet Letter. It also features an introductory essay and chronology by Professor Michael J. Kramer, chair of the English department at Bar Ilan University. Book jacket.

Author Notes

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. When he was four years old, his father died. Years later, with financial help from his maternal relatives who recognized his literary talent, Hawthorne was able to enroll in Bowdoin College.

Among his classmates were the important literary and political figures Horatio Bridge, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Franklin Pierce. These friends supplied Hawthorne with employment during the early years after graduation while Hawthorne was still establishing himself as a legitimate author.

Hawthorne's first novel, Fanshawe, which he self-published in 1828, wasn't quite the success that he had hoped it would be. Not willing to give up, he began writing stories for Twice-Told Tales. These stories established Hawthorne as a leading writer.

In 1842, Hawthorne moved to Concord, Massachusetts, where he wrote a number of tales, including "Rappaccini's Daughter" and "Young Goodman Brown," that were later published as Mosses from an Old Manse. The overall theme of Hawthorne's novels was a deep concern with ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. No one novel demonstrated that more vividly than The Scarlet Letter. This tale about the adulterous Puritan Hester Prynne is regarded as Hawthorne's best work and is a classic of American literature. Other famous novels written by Hawthorne include The House of Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance.

In 1852, Hawthorne wrote a campaign biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce. After Pierce was elected as President of the United States, he rewarded Hawthorne with the Consulship at Liverpool, England. Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, while on a trip with Franklin Pierce.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Table of Contents

Editor's Introduction: The Threshold of Hawthorne's Romancesp. vii
Works Cited and Further Readingp. xxxi
Chronologyp. xxxv
A Note on the Textsp. xxxix
The Scarlet Letterp. 1
The House of the Seven Gablesp. 259
About the Editorp. 571