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"HAWTHORNE AND HIS MOSSES": An entry from Charles Scribner's Sons' American History Through Literature 1820-1870 [HTML] [Digital]

Brenda Wineapple

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

On Monday, 5 August 1850, several writers and their editors gathered together in the Berkshire Mountains for what turned out to be a historic meeting: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864), author of the acclaimed The Scarlet Letter, published just five months earlier (and the only novel Hawthorne acknowledged having written) was introduced to Herman Melville (1819–1891), himself the author of five books, including his best-selling Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846), which Hawthorne had reviewed. Both writers were then living in the Berkshire Mountains—Melville in Pittsfield, Hawthorne in a small cottage in Lenox—but had not yet encountered one another....

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