Hailed by Henry James as "the finest pieceof imaginative writing yet put forth in thecountry," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The ScarletLetter reaches to our nation'shistorical and moral roots for the material of greattragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novelshows the terrible impact a single, passionate acthas on the lives of three members of thecommunity: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, torturedReverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengefulChillingworth.
With The ScarletLetter, Hawthorne became the first Americannovelist to forge from our Puritan heritage auniversal classic, a masterful exploration ofhumanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride.
About the Author
Hawthorne was a novelist and short-story writer, born in Salem, MA. Educated at Bowdon College, he shut himself away for 12 years to learn to write fiction. His first major success was the novel The Scarlet Letter (1850), still the best known of his works. Other books include The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Snow Image (1852), and a campaign biography of his old schoolfriend, President Franklin Pierce, on whose inauguration Hawthorne became consul at Liverpool (1853--7). Only belatedly recognized in his own country, he continued to write articles and stories, notably those for the Atlantic Monthly, collected as Our Old Home
"[Nathaniel Hawthorne] recaptured, for his New England, the essence of Greek tragedy." --Malcolm Cowley