The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Set in puritan Boston in the mid 1600s, this is the story of Hester Prynne. She conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair with a pastor and struggles to create a life of dignity. Hawthorne's romantic work of fiction explores themes of sin and guilt.
The House of the Seven Gables (1851)
Hepzibah Pyncheon resides in a haunted New England mansion and opens a shop in a side room to support her brother Clifford, a convicted murderer. When a distant relative turns up, romance blossoms.
The Blithedale Romance (1852)
Nathaniel Hawthorne's third major romance, which Henry James called "the lightest, the brightest, the liveliest".
About the Author
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts, He entered Bowdoin College in 1821, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1824, and graduated in 1825. Hawthorne published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828; he later tried to suppress it, feeling it was not equal to the standard of his later work. He published several short stories collected in 1837 as Twice-Told Tales. The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850, followed by a succession of other novels. A political appointment took Hawthorne and family to Europe before their return to The Wayside in 1860. Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, and was survived by his wife and their three children.
Much of Hawthorne's writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, Dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity. His published works include novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend Franklin Pierce.