Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

I guess when you have descended from Salem witch hunters, the whole creepy aspect permeates your life. Hawthorne lived from 1804 to 1864, and according to Wikipedia, his uncle, John Hathorne was "the only judge involved in the Salem witch trials who never repented of his actions." It is suggested that Nathaniel added the "w" to his surname to further himself from the family, however, the psychological impact remained. Aspects of the supernatural worked their way into most of his novels and even some of his short stories, (with the exception of his collections of children's stories written to teach kids about classical mythology). And as for witchcraft, Hawthorne's writings were more likely to point out the hypocrisy of it all. In the story "Young Goodman Brown," the young man is to be initiated in the circle of witches, and though he isn't really aware of all that's going on, he knows something evil is up. He is filled with shame at the thought of having to face the vicar afterward. But the shock comes when he realizes that he and his wife are the only two town members who are not members. All the others, including the vicar and those of high respect are part of the circle of evil. Hawthorne was more interested in exposing social and moral evils than persecuting witches!

Other events in his life influenced his writings. He married Sophia Peabody, who became the love of his life and his soul mate. She was a transcendentalist and in 1841, Hawthorne joined the transcendentalist utopian community of Brook Farm, more for the purpose of saving money and providing a possible place for them to live. He was assigned the task of shoveling manure, and left the same year, but the experience provided material for The Blithedale Romance. On the first anniversary of his marriage, he helped dredge the river for a young woman who had drowned herself, and the horror of this incident was also written into the above novel.

Hawthorne, of course, is most known for a handful of novels, such as The Scarlet Letter, but he wrote quite a few children's collections also, and a number of short stories. Here is a listing of what you will find reviewed on this site.

Hawthorne's children, Una, Julian, and Rose

Portrait of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sophia Peabody Hawthorne

Fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Statue of Hawthorne

Novels

The Blithedale Romance
The House of the Seven Gables
The Marble Faun

Children's Books

Tanglewood Tales
A Wonder Book

Collected Stories

Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories

Stories in Multiple-Author Collections
The Gray Champion
found in:

Great American Ghost Stories: Chilling Tales by Poe, Bierce, Hawthorne and Others

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