Nathaniel Hawthorne  

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"It would be a matter of some difficulty to designate the best of these tales; we repeat that, without exception, they are beautiful. "Wakefield" is remarkable for the skill with which an old idea — a well-known incident — is worked up or discussed. A man of whims conceives the purpose of quitting his wife and residing incognito, for twenty years, in her immediate neighborhood. Something of this kind actually happened in London. The force of Mr. Hawthorne’s tale lies in the analysis of the motives which must or might have impelled the husband to such folly, in the first instance, with the possible causes of his perseverance. Upon this thesis a sketch of singular power has been constructed." --Edgar Allan Poe

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history. Hawthorne is best-known today for his many short stories (he called them "tales") and his major romance The Scarlet Letter.

He published his first work in 1828, the novel Fanshawe; he later tried to suppress it, feeling that it was not equal to the standard of his later work. He published several short stories in periodicals, which he collected in 1837 as Twice-Told Tales. The Scarlet Letter was published in 1850, followed by a succession of other novels.

Much of Hawthorne's writing centers on New England, many works featuring moral metaphors with an anti-Puritan inspiration. His fiction works are considered part of the Romantic movement and, more specifically, dark romanticism. His themes often center on the inherent evil and sin of humanity, and his works often have moral messages and deep psychological complexity.

Borges wrote an essay on his work in Other Inquisitions 1937-1952.

Contents

Selected works

Novels

Short story collections

Selected short stories

See also

The Great American Novel, 19th century American literature




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