Image of Nathaniel Hawthorne


Lifetime: 1804 - 1864 Passed: ≈ 159 years ago


American Novelist, Dark Romantic, Short Story Writer.


United States

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hawthorne's works belong to romanticism or, more specifically, dark romanticism, cautionary tales that suggest that guilt, sin, and evil are the most inherent natural qualities of humanity.Many of his works are inspired by Puritan New England, combining historical romance loaded with symbolism and deep psychological themes, bordering on surrealism. His depictions of the past are a version of historical fiction used only as a vehicle to express common themes of ancestral sin, guilt and retribution. His later writings also reflect his negative view of the Transcendentalism movement.

Hawthorne was predominantly a short story writer in his early career. Upon publishing Twice-Told Tales, however, he noted, "I do not think much of them," and he expected little response from the public. His four major romances were written between 1850 and 1860: The Scarlet Letter (1850), The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Blithedale Romance (1852) and The Marble Faun (1860). Another novel-length romance, Fanshawe, was published anonymously in 1828. Hawthorne defined a romance as being radically different from a novel by not being concerned with the possible or probable course of ordinary experience. In the preface to The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne describes his romance-writing as using "atmospherical medium as to bring out or mellow the lights and deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture". The picture, Daniel Hoffman found, was one of "the primitive energies of fecundity and creation

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist, dark romantic, and short story writer. His works often focus on history, morality, and religion.

While on a tour of the White Mountains, he died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Pierce sent a telegram to Elizabeth Peabody asking her to inform Mrs. Hawthorne in person. Mrs. Hawthorne was too saddened by the news to handle the funeral arrangements herself.Hawthorne's son Julian, a freshman at Harvard College, learned of his father's death the next day; coincidentally, he was initiated into the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity on the same day by being blindfolded and placed in a coffin. Longfellow wrote a tribute poem to Hawthorne published in 1866 called "The Bells of Lynn". Hawthorne was buried on what is now known as "Authors' Ridge" in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Massachusetts.Pallbearers included Longfellow, Emerson, Alcott, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., James T. Fields, and Edwin Percy Whipple.Emerson wrote of the funeral: "I thought there was a tragic element in the event, that might be more fully rendered—in the painful solitude of the man, which, I suppose, could no longer be endured, & he died of it."

His wife Sophia and daughter Una were originally buried in England. However, in June 2006, they were reinterred in plots adjacent to Hawthorne.

Books by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter Cover image

The Scarlet Letter

Romance History Novel
Reference work Sin Puritanism Guilt

A beautiful woman who is punished for the mortal sin of loving a man other than her husband, a cowardly lover, a vengeful husband, a rebellious illegitimate child and the oppressive and patriarchal morality of 17th century Puritanism in Boston. Toget...

Tanglewood Tales Cover image

Tanglewood Tales

Fiction Fairy Tale
Children's Literature Legend Myths

Tanglewood Tales for Boys and Girls (1853) is a book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, a sequel to A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. It is a re-writing of well-known Greek myths in a volume for children.

The House of the Seven Gables Cover image

The House of the Seven Gables

Romance Fiction

The House of the Seven Gables: A Romance is a Gothic novel written beginning in mid-1850 by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne and published in April 1851 by Ticknor and Fields of Boston. The novel follows a New England family and their ancestral ho...

The Blithedale Romance Cover image

The Blithedale Romance

Romance Fiction Novel
Equality Nature Symbolism Farming

The Blithedale Romance is a novel by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is the third major "romance", as he called the form. Its setting is a utopian farming commune based on Brook Farm, of which Hawthorne was a founding member and where he live...

Rappaccini's Daughter  Cover image

Rappaccini's Daughter

Romance Fiction
Short Story Gothic Ancient Tradition America United States General Fiction

The story is set in Padua, Italy, in a distant and unspecified past, possibly in the sixteenth century, after the Paduan Botanical Garden had been founded. Giovanni Guasconti, a young student recently arrived from Naples, Southern Italy, to study at...

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys  Cover image

A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys

Fairy Tale
Children Myths Childhood Short Works

A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys (1851) is a children's book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne in which he retells several Greek myths. It was followed by a sequel, Tanglewood Tales. The stories in A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys are all stori...

The Marble Faun  Cover image

The Marble Faun

Fiction Novel
Gothic Travels Romance America Civil War United States Fantastic Fiction General Fiction

The Marble Faun is Hawthorne's most unusual romance. Writing on the eve of the American Civil War, Hawthorne set his story in a fantastical Italy. The romance mixes elements of a fable, pastoral, Gothic novel, and travel guide. In the spring of 1858,...

Our Old Home Cover image

Our Old Home

Pride Poverty Nature Travel America Writing United States

These essays, based on Hawthorne’s stay in England as American Consul in Liverpool, were first published in the form of a series of travel articles for The Atlantic Monthly. In these writings, he displays his humor, his empathetic nature, his pride i...

In Colonial Days Cover image

In Colonial Days

Fiction History
Historical Fiction America Aristocracy United States

A collection of British aristocrats, soldiers, gentlemen and ladies gather at the Province House inn, as the American imperial possessions crumble around them.

Doctor Grimshawe’s Secret Cover image

Doctor Grimshawe’s Secret

Romance Fiction
Romantic Love Death

Dr. Grimshawe is a spider-cultivating eccentric. The central secret of the book is an all-encompassing spiders web. The central character is loosely based on the author Nathaniel Hawthorne. He always considered the book as unfinished and it wasn't pu...

Die Blumen des Bösen Cover image

Die Blumen des Bösen

Love Fate Sin Jealousy Moral Human Nature Supernatural Fiction Seduction Secret

In den Schatten der Vergangenheit gehüllt, entfaltet "Die Blumen des Bösen" von Nathaniel Hawthorne eine düstere Geschichte über die verführerische Kraft des Bösen und die zersetzende Natur menschlicher Leidenschaften. "Die Blumen des Bösen" von Nath...

La letra escarlata Cover image

La letra escarlata

Fiction History Novel
Romance Historical Fiction Symbolism Sin Puritanism Adultery

En una sombría y rígida comunidad puritana del siglo XVII, una misteriosa letra escarlata aparece bordada en el vestido de una joven mujer. ¿Quién es esta mujer y qué terrible pecado ha cometido para merecer tal marca de infamia? "La letra escarlata"...