The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables

3.1 40
by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hawthorne

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Greedy, piratical Colonel Pyncheon builds his mansion on ill-gotten ground, setting the stage for generations of suffering. Years later, a country cousin and an enigmatic young boarder attempt to reverse the tide of misfortunes surrounding the house in Hawthorne's evocative blend of mystery and romance.  See more details below


Greedy, piratical Colonel Pyncheon builds his mansion on ill-gotten ground, setting the stage for generations of suffering. Years later, a country cousin and an enigmatic young boarder attempt to reverse the tide of misfortunes surrounding the house in Hawthorne's evocative blend of mystery and romance.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 9 UpHawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem. More than 200 years later, we meet the family in its decaying, gabled mansion, still haunted by the presence of dead ancestors: Hepzibah, an elderly gentlewoman fallen on had times; her ineffectual brother, Clifford; and young Phoebe, a country maiden who cheerfully takes it upon herself to care for her two doddering relations. There's also Holgrave, a free-spirited daguerreotypist, who makes a surprising transformation into conventional respectability at the story's end. These people seem to be symbols for Hawthorne's theme more than full-bodied characters in their own right. As such, it can only be difficult for today's young adults to identify with them, especially since they are so caught up in a past that is all but unknown to present day sensibilities. Talented Joan Allen, twice nominated for Academy Awards, reads the tale in a clear, luminous voice. Because she has chosen not to do voices, however, it is sometimes difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, she is more than equal to the task of handling Hawthorne's stately prose in a presentation that will be a good curriculum support for students of Hawthorne or those seeking special insight into this work of fiction.Carol Katz, Harrison Library, NY
From the Publisher
"A large and generous production, pervaded with that vague hum, that indefinable echo, of the whole multitudinous life of man, which is the real sign of a great work of fiction."
—Henry James

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Thrift Editions Series
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Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 8.24(h) x 0.57(d)
1320L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Half-way down a by-street of one of our New England towns, stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst. The street is Pyncheon-street; the house is the old Pyncheon-house; and an elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon-elm. On my occasional visits to the town aforesaid, I seldom failed to turn down Pyncheon-street, for the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities; the great elm-tree and the weather-beaten edifice.

The aspect of the venerable mansion has always affected me like a human countenance, bearing the traces not merely of outward storm and sunshine, but expressive also of the long lapse of mortal life, and accompanying vicissitudes that have passed within. Were these to be worthily recounted, they would form a narrative of no small interest and instruction, and possessing, moreover, a certain remarkable unity, which might almost seem the result of artistic arrangement. But the story would include a chain of events extending over the better part of two centuries, and, written out with reasonable amplitude, would fill a bigger folio volume, or a longer series of duodecimos, than could prudently be appropriated to the annals of all New England during a similar period. It consequently becomes imperative to make short work with most of the traditionary lore of which the old Pyncheon-house, otherwise known as the House of the Seven Gables, has been the theme. With a brief sketch, therefore, of the circumstances amid which the foundation of the house was laid, and arapid glimpse at its quaint exterior, as it grew black in the prevalent east wind pointing, too, here and there, at some spot of more verdant mossiness on its roof and walls, we shall commence the real action of our tale at an epoch not very remote from the present day. Still, there will be a connection with the long past; a reference to forgotten events and personages, and to manners, feelings, and opinions, almost or wholly obsolete; which, if adequately translated to the reader, would serve to illustrate how much of old material goes to make up the freshest novelty of human life. Hence, too, might be drawn a weighty lesson from the little-regarded truth, that the act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must produce good or evil fruit, in a far-distant time; that, together with the seed of the merely temporary crop, which mortals term expediency, they inevitably sow the acorns of a more enduring growth, which may darkly overshadow their posterity.

The House of the Seven Gables, antique as it now looks, was not the first habitation erected by civilized man on precisely the same spot of ground. Pyncheon-street formerly bore the humbler appellation of Maule's Lane, from the name of the original occupant of the soil, before whose cottage-door it was a cow-path.

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The House of the Seven Gables 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Heloise More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great and did give off certain eerie vibes. It's true that there were many passages that were long, but if truly taken in they were filled with such depth that would truly make us question our own morals and way of thinking. I would recommend this book to not just any extreme literature buff, but to anyone looking to engross themselves in history and who dare to look into their own hearts and break the binds of society.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Hawthorne combines 3 centuries of American history and 2 families misfortune in one of the greatest novels ever written by one of the greatest American writers ever known. If you like history, mystery, irony and think for yourself you will love this book.
Anthy More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with Hawthorne after reading The Scarlet Letter in high school, so I decided to check out this book. I must say, I love it. You definitely do need an understanding of the time period to tolerate the writing as has been said by other reviewers. I don't mind his long-winded descriptions at all, and I think a lot of people that complain about it just don't know how to read anything that isn't modern. Anyways, great story, and it made me that much more excited when I actually got to travel and see the real house. Must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This copy is practically illegible, the editing is so bad.
TheNightTide More than 1 year ago
To begin with, while I have not read any of Hawthorne's other works, I do enjoy reading the "classics," which is one of the reasons I decided to read this book. It was approaching Halloween and I was in the mood for a classic horror/ghost story in the old Gothic style of literature. However, after struggling through the book page-by-page and inch-by-inch, I cannot recommend this novel to anyone but the most extreme literature buffs. Where it wasn't boring, it was long winded. Where it wasn't long winded it was repetitive. It wasn't scary at all, and I understand that it has been a while since the book was written, but it just didn't give off any scary vibes at all. The atmosphere was instead just dreary and depressing. And worst of all, by the end, I honestly did not care what happened to any of the characters. I did not feel engaged or empathetic to their plight in the least, and this is perhaps Hawthorne's greatest failure. He failed to get his reader to want to finish his story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This piece of is a gothic romance cloaked in the history of Salem Massachusetts written by prolific Nathaniel Hawthorne whose writings, by chance, are considered by many in literary circles to be required reading because they are considered to be 'classics'. The trouble here is defining 'classic'. I chanced to do this once, just prior to graduating with a BA in literature from a private college of a professor from the literary department and received the much expected and equally disappointing answer 'you just know'. By correlation 'you just know' when a book is a bad read and such is the case here. Slow, methodical and plodding, little of interest takes place within or without the walls of the famed 'House of Seven Gables' that captures a readers interest. This is one books whose pages, much like the doors and windows of the house central to this novel, should remain shut and barred to the outside world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Before you read the House of 7 Gables, fly to Salem and go to the actual house! Seeing the house and walking down the dark corridors while smelling the musty, old odor of the home makes reading the book 150 times easier and better. The book follows a family and a house for about 300 years. The majority of the book is focused on the last (?) generation, but it begins with the acquiring of the land and the building of the house. The Wealthy Colonel Pyncheon covets the carpenter Mathew Maule¿s land. A few years later during the witch hysteria in Salem Matthew Maule is brought before a judge on witchcraft charges. Maule is sentenced to death by hanging. Before he was hung, Maule curses the Pyncheon family. The Colonel is undaunted and continues to buy the land and build an extravagant house on Maule¿s property. When the house is finished and the Colonel throws a huge house warming party. Just before the party started the Colonel was found dead and a deed to a large amount of property is missing. Generations search in vain for that piece of parchment. Hawthorne then fast forwards to the current Generation. You meet Hephzibah Pyncheon; an old maid who is one of the last Pyncheon¿s and lives in the old mansion. The great fortune is gone and the poor woman is forced to open a store to survive. She is not very good at tending shop and is delighted when her young cousin, phoebe comes into town from the country and helps her with the shop. Later Hephzibah¿s brother Clifford returns from Prison, where he has spent the better part of his life. Phoebe helps bring some sunlight into their dreary lives but their other cousin, Judge Pyncheon drains what the house doesn¿t with his visits. I can¿t say anymore because I¿ll tell you too much and you won¿t need to read the book. Oh one more word of advice make sure you get a good copy with a glossary because many of Hawthorne¿s words were outdated and confusing in his time.
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Anonymous 7 months ago
Darkstreak She cat 13 moons Black, left front paw is mostly white Amber eyes Fiercely loyal, can be sassy or sarcastic but is very kind and gentle no matter what, it is hard for her to lose her temper.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was good
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