Scarlet Letter and Other Writings

ISBN-10: 0393979539

ISBN-13: 9780393979534

Edition: 4th 2004

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Description: This Norton Critical Edition of Nathaniel Hawthorne's most widely read novel appears during the bicentennial anniversary year of his birth. The text of The Scarlet Letter is based on the 1850 third edition, the first set in stereotype plates and the basis of subsequent printings in Hawthorne's lifetime. An invaluable selection of contextual material includes five Hawthorne stories that are closely related to The Scarlet Letter, along with relevant letters and notebook entries. A substantial excerpt from Hawthorne's campaign biography of Franklin Pierce offers a revealing glimpse at Hawthorne's political thought, especially regarding slavery and abolition. "Criticism" provides a comprehensive overview of early and modern commentary on The Scarlet Letter and the stories in this edition, including nineteenth-century reviews of the novel and critical essays by Robert S. Levine, Nina Baym, Larry J. Reynolds, and Jean Fagan Yellin. A Chronology and Selected Bibliography are also included.

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Book details

List price: $7.50
Edition: 4th
Copyright year: 2004
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/17/2004
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 768
Size: 5.67" wide x 9.13" long x 0.84" tall
Weight: 1.694

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Mass. When Hawthorne 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 1928, wasn't quite the success that he had hoped it would be. Not willing to give up, Hawthorne began writing stories for Twice-Told Tales. These stories established Hawthorne as a leading writer. In 1842, Hawthorne moved to Concord, Mass., 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.

Leland S. Person is Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. His is the author of Henry James and the Suspense of Masculinity, Roman Holidays: American Writers and Artists in Nineteenth-Century Italy, and Aesthetic Headaches: Women and Masculine Poetics in Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne.

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