Twice-Told Tales

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Overview

Hawthorne's famous collection of tales - published originally in magazines and newspapers and then in two separate editions during Hawthorne's lifetime - includes many of his best stories, from "The Minister's Black Veil" and "Wakefield" to "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" and "The Lily's Quest." Animated, as Rosemary Mahoney writes in the Introduction, by "the struggle between chaos and order, animal impulse and the specter of eternal damnation, purity of action against the power of temptation and the fear of ...
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Twice-Told Tales (Barnes & Noble Digital Library)

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Overview

Hawthorne's famous collection of tales - published originally in magazines and newspapers and then in two separate editions during Hawthorne's lifetime - includes many of his best stories, from "The Minister's Black Veil" and "Wakefield" to "Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe" and "The Lily's Quest." Animated, as Rosemary Mahoney writes in the Introduction, by "the struggle between chaos and order, animal impulse and the specter of eternal damnation, purity of action against the power of temptation and the fear of isolation," these stories - like all of Hawthorne's work - remain powerfully contemporary.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781425032425
  • Publisher: www.ReadHowYouWant.com
  • Publication date: 10/1/2006
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. After graduating from university in 1825, he returned to Salem determined to become a writer and worked on short stories and historical sketches. In 1828 he published the novel Fanshawe at his own expense; it was a failure but led to a productive relationship with publisher Samuel Goodrich. He returned to writing short fiction, then worked for Goodrich as hack writer and editor. Hawthorne became a surveyor of the Boston Custom House in 1839, then left in 1841 to invest in a communal experiment, when he also married. Disappointed in communal life, he moved to Concord, Massachusetts and returned to serious writing in 1846 with Mosses from an Old Manse. After a further three years as a customs surveyor, he finally produced his first significant novel and masterwork, The Scarlet Letter, in 1850, followed by two more major novels and some of his best short stories. In 1853 a college friend became President and Hawthorne was appointed US consul at Liverpool, living in England and Italy for six years. He published a further novel and some essays on England on his return; four unfinished novels and passages from his notebooks were published on his death 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

The Gray Champion

There was once a time, when New-England groaned under the actual pressure of heavier wrongs, than those threatened ones which brought on the Revolution. James II., the bigoted successor of Charles the Voluptuous, had annulled the charters of all the colonies, and sent a harsh and unprincipled soldier to take away our liberties and endanger our religion. The administration of Sir Edmund Andros lacked scarcely a single characteristic of tyranny: a Governor and Council, holding office from the King, and wholly independent of the coun- try; laws made and taxes levied without concurrence of the people, immediate or by their representatives; the rights of private citizens violated, and the titles of all landed property declared void; the voice of complaint stifled by restrictions on the press; and, finally, disaffection overawed by the first band of mercenary troops that ever marched on our free soil. For two years, our ancestors were kept in sullen submission, by that filial love which had invariably secured their allegiance to the mother country, whether its head chanced to be a Parliament, Protector, or popish Monarch. Till these evil times, however, such allegiance had been merely nominal, and the colonists had ruled themselves, enjoying far more freedom, than is even yet the privilege of the native subjects of Great Britain.

At length, a rumor reached our shores, that the Prince of Orange had ventured on an enterprise, the success of which would be the triumph of civil and religious rights and the salvation of New-England. It was but a doubtful whisper; it might be false, or the attempt might fail; and, in either case, the man, that stirredagainst King James, would lose his head. Still the intelligence produced a marked effect. The people smiled mysteriously in the streets, and threw bold glances at their oppressors; while, far and wide, there was a subdued and silent agitation, as if the slightest signal would rouse the whole land from its sluggish despondency. Aware of their danger, the rulers resolved to avert it by an imposing display of strength, and perhaps to confirm their despotism by yet harsher measures. One afternoon in April, 1689, Sir Edmund Andros and his favorite councillors, being warm with wine, assembled the red-coats of the Governor’s Guard, and made their appearance in the streets of Boston. The sun was near setting when the march commenced.

The roll of the drum, at that unquiet crisis, seemed to go through the streets, less as the martial music of the soldiers, than as a muster-call to the inhabitants themselves. A multitude, by various avenues, assembled in King-street, which was destined to be the scene, nearly a century afterwards, of another encounter between the troops of Britain, and a people struggling against her tyranny. Though more than sixty years had elapsed, since the Pilgrims came, this crowd of their descendants still showed the strong and sombre features of their character, perhaps more strikingly in such a stern emergency than on happier occasions. There was the sober garb, the general severity of mien, the gloomy but undismayed expression, the scriptural forms of speech, and the confidence in Heaven’s blessing on a righteous cause, which would have marked a band of the original Puritans, when threatened by some peril of the wilderness. Indeed, it was not yet time for the old spirit to be extinct; since there were men in the street, that day, who had worshipped there beneath the trees, before a house was reared to the God, for whom they had become exiles. Old soldiers of the Parliament were here too, smiling grimly at the thought, that their aged arms might strike another blow against the house of Stuart. Here also, were the veterans of King Philip’s war9 who had burnt villages and slaughtered young and old, with pious fierceness, while the godly souls throughout the land were helping them with prayer. Several ministers were scattered among the crowd, which, unlike all other mobs, regarded them with such reverence, as if there were sanctity in their very garments. These holy men exerted their influence to quiet the people, but not to disperse them. Meantime, the purpose of the Governor, in disturbing the peace of the town, at a period when the slightest commotion might throw the country into a ferment, was almost the universal subject of inquiry, and variously explained.

“Satan will strike his master-stroke presently,” cried some, “because he knoweth that his time is short. All our godly pastors are to be dragged to prison! We shall see them at a Smithfield fire in King-street!”

Hereupon, the people of each parish gathered closer round their minister, who looked calmly upwards and assumed a more apostolic dignity, as well befitted a candidate for the highest honor of his profession, the crown of martyrdom. It was actually fancied, at that period, that New-England might have a John Rogers of her own, to take the place of that worthy in the Primer.

“The Pope of Rome has given orders for a new St. Bartholomew!” cried others. “We are to be massacred, man and male child!”

Neither was this rumor wholly discredited, although the wiser class believed the Governor’s object somewhat less atrocious. His predecessor under the old charter, Bradstreet, a venerable companion of the first settlers, was known to be in town. There were grounds for conjecturing, that Sir Edmund Andros intended, at once, to strike terror, by a parade of military force, and to confound the opposite faction, by possessing himself of their chief.

“Stand firm for the old charter Governor!” shouted the crowd, seizing upon the idea. “The good old Governor Bradstreet!”

While this cry was at the loudest, the people were surprised by the well known figure of Governor Bradstreet himself, a patriarch of nearly ninety, who appeared on the elevated steps of a door, and, with characteristic mildness, besought them to submit to the constituted authorities.

“My children,” concluded this venerable person, “do nothing rashly. Cry not aloud, but pray for the welfare of New-England, and expect patiently what the Lord will do in this matter!”

The event was soon to be decided. All this time, the roll of the drum had been approaching through Cornhill, louder and deeper, till, with reverberations from house to house, and the regular tramp of martial footsteps, it burst into the street. A double rank of soldiers made their appearance, occupying the whole breadth of the passage, with shouldered matchlocks, and matches burning, so as to present a row of fires in the dusk. Their steady march was like the progress of a machine, that would roll irresistibly over every thing in its way. Next, moving slowly, with a confused clatter of hoofs on the pavement, rode a party of mounted gentlemen, the central figure being Sir Edmund Andros, elderly, but erect and soldier-like. Those around him were his favorite councillors, and the bitterest foes of New-England. At his right hand rode Edward Randolph, our arch enemy, that “blasted wretch,” as Cotton Mathee calls him, who achieved the downfall of our ancient government, and was followed with a sensible curse, through life and to his grave. On the other side was Bullivant, scattering jests and mockery as he rode along. Dudley came behind, with a downcast look, dreading, as well he might, to meet the indignant gaze of the people, who beheld him, their only countryman by birth, among the oppressors of his native land. The captain of a frigate in the harbor, and two or three civil officers under the Crown, were also there. But the figure which most attracted the public eye, and stirred up the deepest feeling, was the Episcopal clergyman of King’s Chapel, riding haughtily among the magistrates in his priestly vestments, the fitting representative of prelacy and persecution, the union of church and state, and all those abominations which had driven the Puritans to the wilderness. Another guard of soldiers, in double rank, brought up the rear.

Copyright 2001 by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Table of Contents

Biographical Note
Introduction
Preface
The Gray Champion 3
Sunday at Home 11
The Wedding-Knell 17
The Minister's Black Veil 25
The May-Pole of Merry Mount 38
The Gentle Boy 49
Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe 78
Little Annie's Ramble 90
Wakefield 97
A Rill from the Town-Pump 106
The Great Carbuncle 112
The Prophetic Pictures 126
David Swan 139
Sights from a Steeple 145
The Hollow of the Three Hills 151
The Toll-Gatherer's Day 156
The Vision of the Fountain 162
Fancy's Show Box 168
Dr. Heidegger's Experiment 174
Legends of the Province-House: I. Howe's Masquerade 184
Legends of the Province-House: II. Edward Randolph's Portrait 198
Legends of the Province-House: III. Lady Eleanore's Mantle 210
Legends of the Province-House: IV. Old Esther Dudley 225
The Haunted Mind 236
The Village Uncle 241
The Ambitious Guest 252
The Sister Years 260
Snow-Flakes 267
The Seven Vagabonds 272
The White Old Maid 288
Peter Goldthwaite's Treasure 298
Chippings with a Chisel 317
The Shaker Bridal 327
Night Sketches 333
Endicott and the Red Cross 339
The Lily's Quest 346
Foot-prints on the Sea-shore 353
Edward Fane's Rosebud 363
The Threefold Destiny 370
Notes 379
Reading Group Guide 405
Note on the Text 406
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Reading Group Guide

1. In a famous review of Twice-Told Tales published in 1842, another American writer who excelled at the short story–Edgar Allan Poe–wrote the following: “We have always regarded the Tale (using this word in its popular acceptation) as affording the best prose opportunity for display of the highest talent. It has peculiar advantages which the novel does not admit. It is, of course, a far finer field than the essay. It has even points of superiority over the poem.” Using Poe’s insight as a point of departure, discuss the short story form, and how Hawthorne makes use of it.

2. Which stories in this collection do you find most compelling, and why?

3. Discuss the figure of the Minister in “The Minister’s Black Veil,” one of Hawthorne’s most famous and enigmatic stories. What might account for his strange decision regarding the veil?

4. In the story of the same name, discuss Wakefield’s decision to leave home. Why do you think this premise appealed to Hawthorne? How might we account for Wakefield’s decision?

5. What is “Mr. Heidegger’s Experiment”? Is it successful? Is there a moral to this story?

6. What themes would you say run through Hawthorne’s stories? What preoccupations or issues unify his work?

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    Worth Reading Twice

    Twice-Told Tales / 294-0-012-71015-4

    I like Hawthorne well enough as a writer, and I love Hawthorne compared to his contemporaries, and this collection is a good example of his evolution as a writer. There are a lot of classics here, including "The Minister's Black Veil" and "Lady Eleanor's Mantle".

    ~ Ana Mardoll

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2002

    To read this and not be taken by it is a crime of the mind

    The tales awakened me from a sleep that had once been unchallenged by other books of my age or those of my fathers. To those who choose to read this book I can only say that with a need for life on parchment this will quickly if not instantly become one of if not entirely your favorite book.

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