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The Scarlet Letter Paperback – September 20, 2013
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About the Author
Born in 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne is known for his historical tales and novels about American colonial society. After publishing The Scarlet Letter in 1850, its status as an instant bestseller allowed him to earn a living as a novelist. Full of dark romanticism, psychological complexity, symbolism, and cautionary tales, his work is still popular today. He has earned a place in history as one of the most distinguished American writers of the nineteenth century.
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Regarding style or rather approach in telling that story, it starts with an unusual prologue(or at least that's what I thought it was, but it turned out that it's actually quite a long preparation for the story), and then goes into mix of fiction and history lessons which while unusual(or maybe I wasn't prepared for it) it turned out great.
All in all a great read which at the end leaves this reader believing that there may have been a woman by the name of Hester Prynne.
It's worth a re-read and also check wikipedia for some interesting additional in-depth analysis .
And therein lies his great weakness. He has a genius for mining the meaning from every action, every movement, indeed, every word of dialogue, but in his exegetical fervor he neglects to simply describe what is happening. What little description he provides is overshadowed by the towering commentary surrounding it.
Perhaps that is why the Puritans are held in such a dismal light in this novel: aside from their intolerance serving as a plot device, they were known for their exegetical prowess, and Hawthorne simply detested in others what was never fully realized within himself. (This speculation serves only to amuse myself.)
Nevertheless, this novel ought to be mandatory reading for all Americans and all students of American culture. Readers and writers alike will only come away from it aesthectically edified and intellectually enhanced.