Experiences as a Bowdoin College Student
By Nathaniel Hawthorne
Fanshawe is a novel written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was his first published work, which he published anonymously in 1828.
Hawthorne was working on a novel as early as his period as an undergraduate at Bowdoin College. Fanshawe, his first published novel, may or may not have been that book. Fanshawe: A Tale appeared anonymously in October 1828 from the Boston publishers Marsh and Capen. Its printing was paid for at the author's own expense, costing him $100. The book was based on Hawthorne's experiences as a Bowdoin College student in the early 1820s.
Fanshawe generally received positive reviews. Sarah Josepha Hale, then editor of the Ladies' Magazine, advised potential readers buy the book rather than rely on finding it at a circulating library. As she wrote, "Purchase it, reader. There is but one volume, and trust me that it is worth placing in your library." William Leggett saw further potential in the young author: "The mind that produced this little, interesting volume, is capable of making great and rich additions to our native literature."
The book, however, did not sell well. After its commercial failure, Hawthorne burned the unsold copies: "Later all the copies that could be obtained were destroyed. A dozen years after his death a copy was found and the tale reissued by James o & co." (quote cf. N.E. Brown, Bibl. of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Boston and New York, 1905) The novel was so rare and Hawthorne was so secretive about his early attempt at a novel that after his death his wife Sophia insisted her husband had never written a novel with that title, despite being shown a copy.
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About the Author
One of the greatest authors in American literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a novelist and short story writer born in Salem, Massachusetts. Hawthorne’s best-known books include The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter, works marked by a psychological depth and moral insight seldom equaled by other writers.
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