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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 - 1864)

Hawthorne, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Hawthorne has been recognized as one of America's most important writers. He was born in Massachusetts on the Fourth of July, 1804. After his father, ship's captain, died at sea in 1808, his mother then brought her son and two daughters to live with her family. In 1821 Hawthorne was accepted to Bowdoin College. He graduated in 1825.

Twelve years later, when Twice-told Tales was published with Hawthorne's name on the cover, he received much recognition from already well-established critics. In 1837 Hawthorne met Sophia Peabody, a frail amateur artist to whom he became engaged the following year. He left the Custom House in November 1840. Two years later, in July 1842, Hawthorne married Sophia and moved into the Old Manse in Concord. His daughter Una was born in 1844.

In April 1846, Hawthorne became Surveyor of the Salem Custom House and returned to his birthplace. There, anguished by his mother's death, he wrote The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne moved to Berkshires in the spring of 1850, where he soon produced his second novel, The House of the Seven Gables.

Hawthorne's third child, Rose, was born in 1851. Then, Hawthorne was appointed Consul to Liverpool, serving from 1853 to 1857. When he returned to Concord in 1860, his health was broken. He died on May 19, 1864.

Famous quotations by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

  • No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.

  • What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so inexorable as one's self!

  • Happiness is as a butterfly which when pursued is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly may alight upon you.

  • It is not the statesman, the warrior, or the monarch that survives, but the despised poet, whom they may have fed with their crumbs, and to whom they owe that they are now or have - name.

  • Suggested sites for Nathaniel Hawthorne:

    Encyclopedia article about Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Texts by Hawthorne
    From Twice Told Tales
    Collection of stories, including "The Gray Champion," "The Wedding Knell," "The Minister's Black Veil," and "The May-Pole of Merry Mount."
    Grandfather's Chair
    A series of children's books that gives the history of the US from the Pilgrims to the Revolutionary War.
    The Great Carbuncle
    The story of a group of people traveling through the White Mountains.
    House Of Seven Gables
    A two-hundred-year-old curse causes problems for a prominent New England family.
    Mosses From An Old Manse and other stories
    A collection of stories that includes, "The Birthmark," "Young Goodman Brown," "Rappaccini's Daughter," and "Mrs. Bullfrog."
    The Scarlet Letter
    A woman, Hester Prynne, who believes her husband to be dead, embarks on a love affair with the Rev. Dimmesdale. When her husband returns, he uses the affair and Hester's pregnancy to torment her and the Rev. Hester is forced to don the letter "A" for refusing to name her lover.
    The Snow Image
    Tanglewood Tales
    Short stories that tell of the adventures of Theseus, Circe, Cadmus, and Jason.

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