The Portable Hawthorne

Overview

The Portable Hawthorne includes writings from each major stage in the career of Nathaniel Hawthorne: a number of his most intriguing early tales, all of The Scarlet Letter, excerpts from his three subsequently published romances—The House of Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun—as well as passages from his European journals and a sampling of his last, unfinished works. The editor’s introduction and head notes trace the evolution of Hawthorne’s writing over the course of his long career: from ...

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The Portable Hawthorne

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Overview

The Portable Hawthorne includes writings from each major stage in the career of Nathaniel Hawthorne: a number of his most intriguing early tales, all of The Scarlet Letter, excerpts from his three subsequently published romances—The House of Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun—as well as passages from his European journals and a sampling of his last, unfinished works. The editor’s introduction and head notes trace the evolution of Hawthorne’s writing over the course of his long career: from the tales, to their apotheosis in The Scarlet Letter, through his popular romances, to his private journals and frustrated attempts at another romance. Readers looking for a critical vantage point from which to see Hawthorne whole—his artistic rise, triumph, and sad decline—can find it in this collection.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Penguin is updating many of its original "Portable" series titles with fine new editions. This second revised Hawthorne is not just a face-lift on the original collection assembled by Malcolm Cowley in the 1940s but a new compilation by editor William C. Spengemann and covers the author's full career. If your existing Portable Hawthorne is looking a little ragged, now's the time to replace it. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143039280
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/29/2005
  • Series: Penguin Classics Series
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 955,996
  • Product dimensions: 5.23 (w) x 7.77 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of proud New England seafarers. He lived in genteel poverty with his widowed mother and two young sisters in a house filled with Puritan ideals and family pride in a prosperous past. His boyhood was, in most respects, pleasant and normal. In 1825 he was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and he returned to Salem determined to become a writer of short stories. For the next twelve years he was plagued with unhappiness and self-doubts as he struggled to master his craft. He finally secured some small measure of success with the publication of his Twice-Told Tales (1837). His marriage to Sophia Peabody in 1842 was a happy one. The Scarlet Letter (1850), which brought him immediate recognition, was followed by The House of the Seven Gables (1851). After serving four years as the American Consul in Liverpool, England, he traveled in Italy; he returned home to Massachusetts in 1860. Depressed, weary of writing, and failing in health, he died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.

William C. Spengemann is the Hale Professor in Arts and Sciences and Professor of English Emeritus at Dartmouth College. He edited the Penguin Classics edition of Nineteenth-Century American Poetry.

Biography

Nathaniel Hathorne, Jr., was born into an established New England puritan family on Independence Day, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. After the sudden death of his father, he and his mother and sisters moved in with his mother's family in Salem. Nathaniel's early education was informal; he was home-schooled by tutors until he enrolled in Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.

Uninterested in conventional professions such as law, medicine, or the ministry, Nathaniel chose instead to rely "for support upon my pen." After graduation, he returned to his hometown, wrote short stories and sketches, and chanced the spelling of his surname to "Hawthorne." Hawthorne's coterie consisted of transcendentalist thinkers, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Although he did not subscribe entirely to the group's philosophy, he lived for six months at Brook Farm, a cooperative living community the transcendentalists established in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

On July 9, 1942, Hawthorne married a follower of Emerson, Sophia Peabody, with whom he had a daughter, Una, and a son, Julian. The couple purchased a mansion in Concord, Massachusetts, that previously had been occupied by author Louisa May Alcott. Frequently in financial difficulty, Hawthorne worked at the custom houses in Salem and Boston to support his family and his writing. His peaceful life was interrupted when his college friend, Franklin Pierce, now president of the United States, appointed him U.S. consul at Liverpool, England, where he served for four years.

The publication of The Scarlet Letter in 1850 changed the way society viewed Puritanism. Considered his masterpiece, the novel focuses on Hawthorne's recurrent themes of sin, guilt, and punishment. Some critics have attributed his sense of guilt to his ancestors' connection with the persecution of Quakers in seventeenth-century New England and their prominent role in the Salem witchcraft trials in the 1690s.

On May 19, 1864, Hawthorne died in Plymouth, New Hampshire, leaving behind several unfinished novels that were published posthumously. He is buried at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts.

Author biography from the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter.

Good To Know

Hawthorne's birth name was actually Nathaniel Hathorne. It's rumored that he added a "w" to avoid being associated with his Puritan grandfather, Judge Hathorne -- who presided over the Salem Witch Trials.

Among Hawthorne's peers at Maine's Bowdoin College: author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Franklin Pierce, who would later become the country's 14th president.

In its first week of publication, The Scarlet Letter sold 4,000 copies.

Hawthorne died on May 19, 1864, at the Pemigewasset House in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Ironically, former president Franklin Pierce had advised him to go there for his health.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      July 4, 1804
    2. Place of Birth:
      Salem, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      May 19, 1864
    2. Place of Death:
      Plymouth, New Hampshire
    1. Education:
      Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824

Table of Contents

The Portable Hawthorne Introduction
Chronology

I. The Tales (1830-1852)

Editor's Note
My Kinsman, Mayor Molineux
Roger Malvin's Burial
Young Goodman Brown
The Minister's Black Veil
The Man of Adamant
The Birth-Mark
Rappaccini's Daughter
Prefaces from "The Old Manse"
to Twice-told Tales
to The Snow-Image

II. The Scarlet Letter (1850)

Editor's Note

III. The Published Romances (1851-1860)

Editor's Note from The House of the Seven Gables
from The Blithedale Romance
from The Marble Faun

IV. The European Journals (1853-1860)

Editor's Note from the English, French, and Italian Journals

V. The Last Years (1861-1864)

Editor's Note
Passages from the letters and the Unfinished Romances

Suggestions for Further Reading

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