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About Nathaniel Hawthorne

Post by: Deepti Khanna

Nathaniel Hawthorne


Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts. His author's great-great-great-grandfather, William Hathorne, was the first in the family to emigrate from England to Salem.

William's son, John Hathorne, was one of the judges who oversaw the Salem Witch Trials. When Nathaniel got to know of this, he is said to have added the letter ‘w’ to his surname. It is said that he wanted to dissociate himself from his ‘notorious’ ancestors.

Hawthorne’s fiction belongs to dark romanticism. The themes he chose revolve around inherent evil and the sin of humanity. His depictions were used as a vehicle to express themes of ancestral sin, guilt and justice. His works also had a moral message. He is also known to write a biography of his friend Franklin Pierce.

Hawthorne also wrote short stories in his early writing career. However, he once mentioned: I do not think much of them. His novels include 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.

In the preface to The House of the Seven Gables, Hawthorne described his novel as a "medium to deepen and enrich the shadows of the picture."

Nathaniel Hawthorne passed away on May 19, 1864 (aged 59) in New Hampshire, United States.

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