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.
D(avid) H(erbert) Lawrence was born on September 11, 1885. His father was a coal miner and Lawrence grew up in a mining town in England. He always hated the mines, however, and frequently used them in his writing to represent both darkness and industrialism, which he despised because he felt it was scarring the English countryside. Lawrence attended high school and college in Nottingham and, after graduation, became a school teacher in Croyden in 1908. Although his first two novels had been unsuccessful, he turned to writing full time when a serious illness forced him to stop teaching. Lawrence spent much of his adult life abroad in Europe, particularly Italy, where he wrote some of his most significant and most controversial novels, including Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterly's Lover. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, who had left her first husband and her children to live with him, spent several years touring Europe and also lived in New Mexico for a time. Lawrence had been a frail child, and he suffered much of his life from tuberculosis. Eventually, he retired to a sanitorium in Nice, France. He died in France in 1930, at age 44. In his relatively short life, he produced more than 50 volumes of short stories, poems, plays, essays, travel journals, and letters, in addition to the novels for which he is best known.Kathryn Harrison lives in New York with her husband and their children.