The House with Seven Gables

The House with Seven Gables

5.0 1
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
     
 
The novel is set in the mid-19th century, with glimpses into the history of the house, which was built in the late 17th century. The primary interest of this book is in the subtle and involved descriptions of character and motive.

The house of the title is a gloomy New England mansion, haunted from its foundation by fraudulent dealings, accusations of

Overview

The novel is set in the mid-19th century, with glimpses into the history of the house, which was built in the late 17th century. The primary interest of this book is in the subtle and involved descriptions of character and motive.

The house of the title is a gloomy New England mansion, haunted from its foundation by fraudulent dealings, accusations of witchcraft, and sudden death. The current resident, the dignified but desperately poor Hepzibah Pyncheon, opens a shop in a side room to support her brother Clifford, who is about to leave prison after serving thirty years for murder. She refuses all assistance from her unpleasant wealthy cousin Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon. A distant relative, the lively and pretty young Phoebe, turns up and quickly becomes invaluable, charming customers and rousing Clifford from depression. A delicate romance grows between Phoebe and the mysterious attic lodger Holgrave, who is writing a history of the Pyncheon family.Phoebe takes leave of the family to return to her country home for a brief visit, but will return soon. Unfortunately, before she leaves, Clifford stands at the large arched window above the stairs and has a sudden urge to jump upon viewing the mass of humanity passing before him and his recollection of his youth lost to prison. That instance, coupled with Phoebe's departure — she was the only happy and beautiful thing in the home for the depressed Clifford to dwell on — sends Clifford into a bed-ridden state.

Judge Pyncheon arrives at the house one day, and threatens to have Clifford committed to an insane asylum if he does not disclose information regarding mystical "eastern lands" of Maine that the family is rumored to own. The deed however has been lost. Before Clifford can be brought before the Judge (which, it is implied, will completely destroy Clifford's sanity), the Judge mysteriously dies in the same chair as the historical Pyncheon who stole the land on which the house was later built from a settler named Maule. Hepzibah and Clifford escape on a train (then a very new form of transport) after the Judge dies. The townsfolk murmur about their sudden disappearance, and, upon Phoebe's return, the Judge's body is discovered. Hepzibah and Clifford return shortly, to Phoebe's relief. Events from past and present throw light on the circumstances which sent Clifford to prison, proving his innocence. Holgrave is discovered to be a descendant of Maule but bears the Pyncheon family no ill will, mostly due to his feelings for Phoebe. The romance ends with the characters leaving the old house to start a new life, free of the burdens of the past.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940016748276
Publisher:
Romeo Publications
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
611 KB

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, where his birthplace is now a museum. William Hathorne, who emigrated from England in 1630, was the first of Hawthorne's ancestors to arrive in the colonies. After arriving, William persecuted Quakers. William's son John Hathorne was one of the judges who oversaw the Salem Witch Trials. (One theory is that having learned about this, the author added the "w" to his surname in his early twenties, shortly after graduating from college.) Hawthorne's father, Nathaniel Hathorne, Sr., was a sea captain who died in 1808 of yellow fever, when Hawthorne was only four years old, in Raymond, Maine. Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College at the expense of an uncle from 1821 to 1824, befriending classmates Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and future president Franklin Pierce. While there he joined the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity. Until the publication of his Twice-Told Tales in 1837, Hawthorne wrote in the comparative obscurity of what he called his "owl's nest" in the family home. As he looked back on this period of his life, he wrote: "I have not lived, but only dreamed about living." And yet it was this period of brooding and writing that had formed, as Malcolm Cowley was to describe it, "the central fact in Hawthorne's career," his "term of apprenticeship" that would eventually result in the "richly meditated fiction." Hawthorne was hired in 1839 as a weigher and gauger at the Boston Custom House. He had become engaged in the previous year to the illustrator and transcendentalist Sophia Peabody. Seeking a possible home for himself and Sophia, he joined the transcendentalist utopian community at Brook Farm in 1841; later that year, however, he left when he became dissatisfied with farming and the experiment. (His Brook Farm adventure would prove an inspiration for his novel The Blithedale Romance.) He married Sophia in 1842; they moved to The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts, where they lived for three years. There he wrote most of the tales collected in Mosses from an Old Manse. Hawthorne and his wife then moved to Salem and later to the Berkshires, returning in 1852 to Concord and a new home The Wayside, previously owned by the Alcotts. Their neighbors in Concord included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Like Hawthorne, Sophia was a reclusive person. She was bedridden with headaches until her sister introduced her to Hawthorne, after which her headaches seem to have abated.

Brief Biography

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

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The House with Seven Gables 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sits, sharpening an arrow.