(1804 - 1864)
Salem, Massachusetts, United States
"The world owes all its onward impulses
to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself
with ancient limits."
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem.
This is significant, as he would later include Salem and
New England in his works. He was named after his father,
whom when Hawthorne was four, died. While playing ball in
his youth, Hawthorne injured himself and was prevented from
doing any activity that was physically demanding. As a result,
Hawthorne became interested in literature. In 1825, Hawthorne
graduated from Bowdoin College. There, he befriended President
Pierce along with Longfellow. At this time he also acquired
a love for solitude and came middle in his class due to
his excessive perusal of literary authors. Hawthorne married
Sophia Peabody and enjoyed a life of literature, politics,
and family. In The Scarlet Letter his literary talent
bursts forth in the intensity of images and the mastering
of psychological truths. He left Salem for Boston in 1850,
where he had as a neighbor Herman Melville. Nathaniel had
a great influence on American Literature after the reception
of The Scarlet Letter. Herman Melville changed Moby
Dick to accommodate Hawthorne's way of writing and dedicated
the book to him. This style of narrative fictional Romance
has created American Fiction. Many authors have also adopted
his use of psychological analysis since he introduced it.
His works give the reader a glimpse into Early Colonialism
as also a window into the time of the author. Here one reads
of American traditions as well as the struggle that Hawthorne
himself experienced with evil and fate and reconciling one's
own response to it. The reader finds much allegory in the
images Hawthorne creates, forcing one to question and formulate
one's own responses to the moral issues that are dimmed
by the circumstances surrounding the characters of the story.
Twice-Told Tales, 1837
Mosses from an Old Manse, 1846
The Custom House and The Scarlet Letter, 1850
The House of Seven Gables, 1851
The Blithedale Romance, 1852
The Life of Franklin Pierce, 1852
The Marble Faun, 1860
A More Extensive Look at Hawthorne http://www.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/hawthor.htm
Turner, Arlin. Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Biography. Oxford
University Press, Inc., 1980.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel", Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.