A gloomy New England mansion provides the setting for this classic exploration of ancestral guilt and its expiation through the love and goodwill of succeeding generations.Nathaniel Hawthorne drew inspiration for this story of an immorally obtained property from the role his forebears played in the 17th-century Salem witch trials. Built over an unquiet grave, the House of the Seven Gables carries a dying man's curse that blights the lives of its residents for over two centuries. Now Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, an iron-hearted hypocrite and intellectual heir to the mansion's unscrupulous founder, is attempting to railroad a pair of his elderly relatives out of the house. Only two young people stand in his way ? a visiting country cousin and an enigmatic boarder skilled in mesmerism.Hawthorne envisioned this family drama of evil, revenge, and resolution as a microcosm of Salem's own history as in idealistic society corrupted by greed and pride. His enduring view of the darkness at the heart of the national soul has made The House of the Seven Gables a landmark of American literature.
Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, "The Scarlet Letter" is the story of Hester Prynne, a married woman who has an affair and gives birth to an illegitimate daughter. Condemned by society for her adultery, she is forced to wear a scarlet A for 'Adulteress' on her dress for the rest of her life. Publicly disgraced and ostracised, Hester refuses to name her lover - drawing on her strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Hester bears her shame with dignity, and attitudes towards her soften as time passes; Arthur Dimmesdale, her lover, is steadily consumed by his guilt, having disavowed his passion for Hester and any love for their daughter Pearl; while her husband is destroyed by his determination to discover the lover's identity. In her introduction Nina Baym explores how "The Scarlet Letter" was not written as realistic, historical fiction but as a 'romance' a creation of the imagination that discloses the truth of the human heart. Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) was born in Salem, Massachusetts. In 1825 he graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and returned to Salem determined to become a writer. He joined Brook Farm, a utopian experiment in communal living, before marrying in 1842. His writing had already secured some success with his "Twice-Told Tales", but it was the publication of "The Scarlet Letter" in 1850 that brought him immediate recognition, followed a year later by "The House of the Seven Gables".