Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece, an iconic fable of guilt and redemption set in Puritan Massachusetts, has long been considered one of the greatest American novels.
The story of Hester Prynne--found out in adultery, pilloried by her Puritan community, and abandoned, in different ways, by both her partner in sin and her vengeance-seeking husband--possesses a reality heightened by Hawthorne's sympathy and his unmixed devotion to his supposedly fallen but fundamentally innocent heroine. "The Scarlet Letter" rightly deserves its stature as the first great novel written by an American, a work of moral force and narrative power that announced a literature equal to any in the world.
About the Author
Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the first American writers to embrace the themes of Puritan New England, focusing much of his writing on humanity's sins and moral obligations to the broader community. Part of the Romantic movement, Hawthorne is the author of the masterpiece The Scarlet Letter, as well as The House of the Seven Gables, Twice Told Tales, and many other works of fiction. Hawthorne died in 1864.
"[Nathaniel Hawthorne] recaptured, for his New England, the essence of Greek tragedy." --Malcolm Cowley