Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tales: Authoritative Texts, Backgrounds, Criticism

Front Cover
W.W. Norton & Company, 2013 - Fiction - 536 pages
Nathaniel Hawthorne?s best-loved tales are now available in arevised Norton Critical Edition.

This revised Norton Critical Edition brings togethertwenty-three of Hawthorne?s tales in all their psychologicaland moral complexity. The Second Edition adds the earlybiographical sketch "Mrs. Hutchinson" as well as two tales,?The Wives of the Dead" and "Dr. Heidegger?sExperiment." Each tale is accompanied by explanatoryannotations.

"The Author on His Work" contains the prefaces Hawthorne wrotefor the three collections of tales published during hislifetime?The Old Manse, Twice-Told Tales, andThe Snow Image. Also included are pertinent selections fromhis American Notebooks and relevant letters to, among others,Sophia Peabody, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and MargaretFuller.

"Criticism" offers important contemporary assessments ofHawthorne?s tales by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar AllanPoe, Margaret Fuller (new to the Second Edition), James RussellLowell, Herman Melville, and Henry James. Modern criticism is wellrepresented by twelve essays?four of them new to the SecondEdition?on the tales? central issues. Contributorsinclude Jorge Louis Borges, J. Hillis Miller, Judith Fetterley,Nina Baym, Leo Marx, and Martin Bidney, among others.

A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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About the author (2013)

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. When he was four years old, his father died. Years later, with financial help from his maternal relatives who recognized his literary talent, Hawthorne was able to enroll in Bowdoin College. Among his classmates were the important literary and political figures Horatio Bridge, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Franklin Pierce. These friends supplied Hawthorne with employment during the early years after graduation while Hawthorne was still establishing himself as a legitimate author. Hawthorne's first novel, Fanshawe, which he self-published in 1828, wasn't quite the success that he had hoped it would be. Not willing to give up, he began writing stories for Twice-Told Tales. These stories established Hawthorne as a leading writer. In 1842, Hawthorne moved to Concord, Massachusetts, where he wrote a number of tales, including "Rappaccini's Daughter" and "Young Goodman Brown," that were later published as Mosses from an Old Manse. The overall theme of Hawthorne's novels was a deep concern with ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. No one novel demonstrated that more vividly than The Scarlet Letter. This tale about the adulterous Puritan Hester Prynne is regarded as Hawthorne's best work and is a classic of American literature. Other famous novels written by Hawthorne include The House of Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. In 1852, Hawthorne wrote a campaign biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce. After Pierce was elected as President of the United States, he rewarded Hawthorne with the Consulship at Liverpool, England. Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, while on a trip with Franklin Pierce.

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