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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne-Original Text
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The Scarlet Letter

by Nathaniel Hawthorne


NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE was already a man of forty-six, and a tale writer of some twenty-four years' standing, when "The Scarlet Letter" appeared. He was born at Salem, Mass., on July 4th, 1804, son of a sea-captain. He led there a shy and rather sombre life; of few artistic encouragements, yet not wholly uncongenial, his moody, intensely meditative temperament being considered. Its colours and shadows are marvelously reflected in his "Twice-Told Tales" and other short stories, the product of his first literary period. Even his college days at Bowdoin did not quite break through his acquired and inherited reserve; but beneath it all, his faculty of divining men and women was exercised with almost uncanny prescience and subtlety. "The Scarlet Letter," which explains as much of this unique imaginative art, as is to be gathered from reading his highest single achievement, yet needs to be ranged with his other writings, early and late, to have its last effect. In the year that saw it published, he began "The House of the Seven Gables," a later romance or prose-tragedy of the Puritan-American community as he had himself known it --defrauded of art and the joy of life, "starving for symbols" as Emerson has it. Nathaniel Hawthorne died at Plymouth, New Hampshire, on May 18th, 1864.

The following is the table of his romances, stories, and other works:

Fanshawe, published anonymously, 1826;
Twice-Told Tales, 1st Series, 1837; 2nd Series, 1842
Grandfather's Chair, a history for youth, 1845
Famous Old People (Grandfather's Chair), 1841
Liberty Tree: with the last words of Grandfather's Chair, 1842
Biographical Stories for Children, 1842
Mosses from an Old Manse, 1846
The Scarlet Letter, 1850
The House of the Seven Gables, 1851
True Stories from History and Biography (the whole History of Grandfather's Chair), 1851 A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, 1851
The Snow Image and other Tales, 1851
The Blithedale Romance, 1852
Life of Franklin Pierce, 1852
Tanglewood Tales (2nd Series of the Wonder Book), 1853
A Rill from the Town-Pump, with remarks, by Telba, 1857
The Marble Faun; or, The Romance of Monte Beni (4 EDITOR'S NOTE) (published in England under the title of "Transformation"), 1860
Our Old Home, 1863
Dolliver Romance (1st Part in "Atlantic Monthly"), 1864; in 3 Parts, 1876; Pansie, a fragment, Hawthorne' last literary effort, 1864;

American Note-Books, 1868
English Note Books, edited by Sophia Hawthorne, 1870
French and Italian Note Books, 1871
Septimius Felton; or, the Elixir of Life (from the "Atlantic Monthly"), 1872
Doctor Grimshawe's Secret, with Preface and Notes by Julian Hawthorne, 1882.

Tales of the White Hills, Legends of New England, Legends of the Province House, 1877, contain tales which had already been printed in book form in "Twice-Told Tales" and the "Mosses" "Sketched and Studies," 1883.

Hawthorne's contributions to magazines were numerous, and most of his tales appeared first in periodicals, chiefly in "The Token,"

1831-1838, "New England Magazine,"
1834,1835; "Knickerbocker,"
1837-1839; "Democratic Review,"
1838-1846; "Atlantic Monthly,"
1860-1872 (scenes from the Dolliver Romance, Septimius Felton, and passages from Hawthorne's Note-Books).

Works: in 24 volumes, 1879; in 12 volumes, with introductory notes by Lathrop, Riverside Edition, 1883.

Biography, etc. ; A. H. Japp (pseud. H. A. Page), Memoir of N. Hawthorne, 1872
J. T. Field's "Yesterdays with Authors," 1873
G. P. Lathrop, "A Study of Hawthorne," 1876
Henry James English Men of Letters, 1879
Julian Hawthorne, "Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife," 1885
Moncure D. Conway, Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1891
Analytical Index of Hawthorne's Works, by E. M. O'Connor 1882.

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