House of the Seven Gables

House of the Seven Gables

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Overview

The wealthy Colonel Pyncheon covets the carpenter Mathew Maule's land. A few years later, during the witch hysteria in Salem, Maule is brought before a judge on witchcraft charges and is sentenced to death. Before his execution, Maule curses the Pyncheon family. The Colonel, undaunted, continues to build an extravagant house on Maule's property. After the house is finished, however, the Colonel is found dead, and the property deed is missing. 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 hard 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. Hawthorne's masterful tales describe the brooding hold of the past over the present, twisting and turning through many generations of a venerable New England family. A true classic of American literature. Newly designed and typeset in a modern 6-by-9-inch format by Waking Lion Press.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781434119469
Publisher: The Editorium
Publication date: 07/01/2008
Pages: 318
Sales rank: 229,665
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of proud New England seafarers. He lived in genteel poverty with his widowed mother and two young sisters in a house filled with Puritan ideals and family pride in a prosperous past. His boyhood was, in most respects, pleasant and normal. In 1825 he was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and he returned to Salem determined to become a writer of short stories. For the next twelve years he was plagued with unhappiness and self-doubts as he struggled to master his craft. He finally secured some small measure of success with the publication of his Twice-Told Tales (1837). His marriage to Sophia Peabody in 1842 was a happy one. The Scarlet Letter (1850), which brought him immediate recognition, was followed by The House of the Seven Gables (1851). After serving four years as the American Consul in Liverpool, England, he traveled in Italy; he returned home to Massachusetts in 1860. Depressed, weary of writing, and failing in health, he died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.

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

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.
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "The House of the Seven Gables"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction to The House of the Seven Gables
  • Textual Introduction: The House of the Seven Gables
  • Note on the Typesetting
  • Preface

  1. The Old Pyncheon Family
  2. The Little Shop-Window
  3. The First Customer
  4. A Day behind the Counter
  5. May and November
  6. Maule's Well
  7. The Guest
  8. The Pyncheon of To-day
  9. Clifford and Phoebe
  10. The Pyncheon-Garden
  11. The Arched Window
  12. The Daguerreotypist
  13. Alice Pyncheon
  14. Phoebe's Good Bye
  15. The Scowl and Smile
  16. Clifford's Chamber
  17. The Flight of Two Owls
  18. Governor Pyncheon
  19. Alice's Posies
  20. The Flower of Eden
  21. The Departure

  • Textual Notes
  • Editorial Emendations in the Copy-Text
  • Rejected First-Edition Substantive Readings
  • Word-Division
  • Historical Collation
  • Alterations in the Manuscript
  • Compositorial Stints in the First Edition
  • The Centenary Texts: Editorial Principles
  • Appendix to the Second Printing

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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