Nathaniel Hawthorne | First Editions

1804 - 1864

Nathaniel Hawthorne (born Nathaniel Hathorne; July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist, Dark Romantic, and short story writer. Much of Hawthorne's writing centres on New England, many works featuring moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, Dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity.

Edgar Allan Poe wrote important and somewhat unflattering reviews of both Twice-Told Tales and Mosses from an Old Manse. Poe's negative assessment was partly due to his own contempt of allegory and moral tales, and his chronic accusations of plagiarism. Similarly, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that Hawthorne's writing was "not good for anything". However, Henry James and poet John Greenleaf Whittier praised Hawthorne's works for their attention to psychology, and subtle beauty. Today, he remains a household name, and The Scarlett Letter is required reading for many high schools and colleges across the United States.

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