The House of the Seven Gables [NOOK Book]

Overview

One hundred years after inheriting a seven-gabled house with a dark and cursed past, Clifford and Hepzibah are old and nearly destitute. Descendants of the cursed Colonel Pyncheon, they have resorted to taking in boarders and running a struggling cent store to support themselves. When a distant relative, untouched by Colonel Pyncheon’s curse, moves into the gabled house and takes over the cent store, her charm and disposition brings success to the shop and the Pyncheons’ situation improves. But it soon becomes ...

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The House of the Seven Gables

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Overview

One hundred years after inheriting a seven-gabled house with a dark and cursed past, Clifford and Hepzibah are old and nearly destitute. Descendants of the cursed Colonel Pyncheon, they have resorted to taking in boarders and running a struggling cent store to support themselves. When a distant relative, untouched by Colonel Pyncheon’s curse, moves into the gabled house and takes over the cent store, her charm and disposition brings success to the shop and the Pyncheons’ situation improves. But it soon becomes clear the bad luck surrounding the house is not easily overcome.

The House of the Seven Gables was inspired by the gabled home of Hawthorne’s cousin, and his own family’s involvement in the Salem Witch Trials. The novel, claimed by Hawthorne to be a romance, has been re-categorized, controversially, several times as gothic horror, fiction, thriller, supernatural, and even fantasy. It has been adapted for the screen several times, and inspired H. P. Lovecraft’s work in horror fiction.

HarperPerennial Classics brings great works of literature to life in digital format, upholding the highest standards in ebook production and celebrating reading in all its forms. Look for more titles in the HarperPerennial Classics collection to build your digital library.

A cartoon version of the misfortunes that plague a prominent New England family because of greed and a two-hundred-year-old curse.

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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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781443432863
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Canada
  • Publication date: 1/28/2014
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 119,537
  • File size: 531 KB

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the first American writers to embrace the themes of Puritan New England, focusing much of his writing on humanity’s sins and moral obligations to the broader community. Part of the Romantic movement, Hawthorne is the author of the masterpiece The Scarlet Letter, as well as The House of the Seven Gables, Twice Told Tales, and many other works of fiction. Hawthorne died in 1864.

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

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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Table of Contents

Introduction Denis Donoghue Donoghue, Denis

Note on the Text

Chronology of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Life

The House of the Seven Gables

Selected Bibliography

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Reading Group Guide

1. Hawthorne considered this novel to be a romance, which in literary terms refers to a narrative, allegorical treatment of heroic, fantastic, or supernatural events. Do you think this term accurately describes the book? Why or why not?

2. What do you make of the relationship between interior consciousness and external appearance in the novel? How does this conflict, as experienced by each of the central characters, inform the novel? And how does the house serve as a metaphor for this struggle?

3. Discuss the theme of class and social structure in the novel. What do you think Hawthorne intends in his depiction of Hepzibah's and Clifford's slow decline, and the curse on the Pyncheons' house? Are these related in any way? What about the role of the Maules?

4. Is the house a kingdom or a prison? Neither, or both? What is the curse that afflicts the Pyncheons? Discuss.

5. Discuss the role played by Holgrave in the novel. How does his nomadic, rootless existence stand in contrast to the Pyncheons? How does his marriage to Phoebe complicate this?

6. Discuss the scene in which Clifford attempts to join the procession. How does this illuminate the fundamental struggle of the Pyncheon family?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 40 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Really Great Book

    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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 5, 2012

    My favorite Hawthorne story

    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!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2006

    THIS BOOK HAS A SOUL

    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.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2012

    Crap

    This copy is practically illegible, the editing is so bad.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    Brad

    Looked at Jade"u ok?"

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2013

    A person

    My mind raced, trying to get a way out of the situation. I looked at him, then at Jade. "Another time," I said seethingly. I disappated into mist.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Cole

    He left.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Jade

    Jade looked at where the kidnapper had disappeared. She sighed and left.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    a cloud

    *a dark cloud appears over head*

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2013

    Fallen Angel

    I stand at the entrance my treehouse, a platform wrapping around the trunk of an extremely thick Joshua tree, the inside hollow.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    Hzsjhd

    Nnsjjddfffn

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Batu

    Silently leaves

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2012

    Assassin

    An eagle swoops down lands on his shoulder and caws quietly and i run quickly to SL

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 11, 2009

    Demolish the house, gable by gable. I couldn't care less.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2006

    Seven Gables Shut And Barred To View

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2004

    Take a trip

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    Bore

    This is good but im not interested in this book but thats me even if i dont like it you still need to skim it and if you like what it says in there then u should read it and i dont like it because it dont got a cover i only got it because of the title see you should try it just likei did.

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  • Posted September 30, 2011

    OMG

    NOW I KNOW WHY I HATED THIS BOOK 45 YEARS AGO, IT WAS REALLY STINKING THEN AND HAS NOT IMPROVED WITH AGE. KATHERINE HOWE'S FOREWORD READ LIKE A COLLEGE SNOB'S BOOK REPORT. I KNOW, I KNOW I DON'T APPRECIATE GREAT LITERATURE, I ACTUALLY DO BUT THIS READ WAS A STEAMING PILE OF... ENOUGH SAID.

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    It did last a bit long, and the old English was somewhat hard to follow, but overall was good. It's not, however, Hawthorne's finest. The Scarlet Letter is one of the most amazing books I've ever read, and perhaps that's why I was slightly disappointed with this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2006

    What a snooze

    I read this book for an english book report and it put me to sleep everytime i started to read it! The author seems to have never ending chapters about absolutely nothing. I don't recommend this novel to anyone who doesn't want to bore themselves to death. Speaking of death that is the only interesting part of the book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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