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Title: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Posting Date: December 18, 2011 [EBook #33] Release Date: February, 1992 Last Updated: May 18, 2005
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Produced by Dartmouth College
THE SCARLET LETTER
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was already a man of forty-six, and a tale writer of some twenty-four years' standing, when "The Scarlet Letter" appeared. He was born at Salem, Mass., on July 4th, 1804, son of a sea-captain. He led there a shy and rather sombre life; of few artistic encouragements, yet not wholly uncongenial, his moody, intensely meditative temperament being considered. Its colours and shadows are marvelously reflected in his "Twice-Told Tales" and other short stories, the product of his first literary period. Even his college days at Bowdoin did not quite break through his acquired and inherited reserve; but beneath it all, his faculty of divining men and women was exercised with almost uncanny prescience and subtlety. "The Scarlet Letter," which explains as much of this unique imaginative art, as is to be gathered from reading his highest single achievement, yet needs to be ranged with his other writings, early and late, to have its last effect. In the year that saw it published, he began "The House of the Seven Gables," a later romance or prose-tragedy of the Puritan-American community as he had himself known it— defrauded of art and the joy of life, "starving for symbols" as Emerson has it. Nathaniel Hawthorne died at Plymouth, New Hampshire, on May 18th, 1864.
The following is the table of his romances, stories, and other works:
Fanshawe, published anonymously, 1826; Twice-Told Tales, 1st
Series, 1837; 2nd Series, 1842; Grandfather's Chair, a history
for youth, 1845: Famous Old People (Grandfather's Chair), 1841
Liberty Tree: with the last words of Grandfather's Chair, 1842;
Biographical Stories for Children, 1842; Mosses from an Old
Manse, 1846; The Scarlet Letter, 1850; The House of the Seven
Gables, 1851: True Stories from History and Biography (the whole
History of Grandfather's Chair), 1851 A Wonder Book for Girls and
Boys, 1851; The Snow Image and other Tales, 1851: The Blithedale
Romance, 1852; Life of Franklin Pierce, 1852; Tanglewood Tales
(2nd Series of the Wonder Book), 1853; A Rill from the Town-Pump,
with remarks, by Telba, 1857; The Marble Faun; or, The Romance of
Monte Beni (4 EDITOR'S NOTE) (published in England under the
title of "Transformation"), 1860, Our Old Home, 1863; Dolliver
Romance (1st Part in "Atlantic Monthly"), 1864; in 3 Parts, 1876;
Pansie, a fragment, Hawthorne' last literary effort, 1864;
American Note-Books, 1868; English Note Books, edited by Sophia
Hawthorne, 1870; French and Italian Note Books, 1871; Septimius
Felton; or, the Elixir of Life (from the "Atlantic Monthly"),
1872; Doctor Grimshawe's Secret, with Preface and Notes by
Julian Hawthorne, 1882.
Tales of the White Hills, Legends of New England, Legends of the
Province House, 1877, contain tales which had already been
printed in book form in "Twice-Told Tales" and the "Mosses"
"Sketched and Studies," 1883.
Hawthorne's contributions to magazines were numerous, and most of his tales appeared first in periodicals, chiefly in "The Token," 1831-1838, "New England Magazine," 1834,1835; "Knickerbocker," 1837-1839; "Democratic Review," 1838-1846; "Atlantic Monthly," 1860-1872 (scenes from the Dolliver Romance, Septimius Felton, and passages from Hawthorne's Note-Books).
Works: in 24 volumes, 1879; in 12 volumes, with introductory notes by Lathrop, Riverside Edition, 1883.
Biography, etc.; A. H. Japp (pseud. H. A. Page), Memoir of N. Hawthorne, 1872; J. T. Field's "Yesterdays with Authors," 1873 G. P. Lathrop, "A Study of Hawthorne," 1876; Henry James English Men of Letters, 1879; Julian Hawthorne, "Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife," 1885; Moncure D. Conway, Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1891; Analytical Index of Hawthorne's Works, by E. M. O'Connor 1882.
INTRODUCTORY. THE CUSTOM-HOUSE
CHAPTER I. THE PRISON-DOOR
CHAPTER II. THE MARKET-PLACE
CHAPTER III. THE RECOGNITION
CHAPTER IV. THE INTERVIEW
CHAPTER V. HESTER AT HER NEEDLE
CHAPTER VI. PEARL
CHAPTER VII. THE GOVERNOR'S HALL
CHAPTER VIII. THE ELF-CHILD AND THE MINISTER
CHAPTER IX. THE LEECH
CHAPTER X. THE LEECH AND HIS PATIENT
CHAPTER XI. THE INTERIOR OF A HEART
CHAPTER XII. THE MINISTER'S VIGIL
CHAPTER XIII. ANOTHER VIEW OF HESTER
CHAPTER XIV. HESTER AND THE PHYSICIAN
CHAPTER XV. HESTER AND PEARL
CHAPTER XVI. A FOREST WALK
CHAPTER XVII. THE PASTOR AND HIS PARISHIONER
CHAPTER XVIII. A FLOOD OF SUNSHINE
CHAPTER XIX. THE CHILD AT THE BROOK-SIDE
CHAPTER XX. THE MINISTER IN A MAZE
CHAPTER XXI. THE NEW ENGLAND HOLIDAY
CHAPTER XXII. THE PROCESSION
CHAPTER XXIII. THE REVELATION OF THE SCARLET LETTER
CHAPTER XXIV. CONCLUSION
INTRODUCTORY TO "THE SCARLET LETTER"
It is a little remarkable, that—though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends—an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public. The first time was three or four years since, when I favoured the reader—inexcusably, and for no earthly reason that either the indulgent reader or the intrusive author could imagine—with a description of my way of life in the deep quietude of an Old Manse. And now—because, beyond my deserts, I was happy enough to find a listener or two on the former occasion—I again seize the public by the button, and talk of my three years' experience in a Custom-House. The example of the famous "P. P., Clerk of this Parish," was never more faithfully followed. The truth seems to be, however, that when he casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him better than most of his schoolmates or lifemates. Some authors, indeed, do far more than this, and indulge themselves in such confidential depths of revelation as could fittingly be addressed only and exclusively to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy; as if the printed book,