Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was a nineteenth-century American novelist and short story writer. He is recognized, with his close contemporaries Herman Melville and Walt Whitman, as a key figure in the development of a distinctly American literature.

Like Melville, Hawthorne was preoccupied with New England's religious past. For Melville religious doubt was an unspoken subtext to much of his fiction, while Hawthorne brooded over the Puritan experience in his novels and short stories. The direct descendant of John Hathorne, a presiding judge at the Salem witch trials in 1692, Hawthorne struggled to come to terms with Puritanism within his own sensibility and as the nation expanded geographically and intellectually.

In Hawthorne's greatest novel, The Scarlet Letter, set in a seventeenth-century Puritan town, Hester Pryme is forced to wear a scarlet letter A because of an adulterous relationship with the Reverend Arthur Dimmsdale, whose identity she steadfastly protects. While not condoning the adultery, the novel presents Hester and her child, Pearl, as purified through the ordeal of public condemnation, while the Puritan townspeople and clergy are revealed as hypocrites and Hester's moral inferiors. 

Contrary to the meticulous social realism that dominated European prose in the nineteenth century, Hawthorne's tales explore problems of sin, guilt, and hypocrisy through allegory and emphasis on the supernatural. Hawthorne was also a friend and neighbor of leading New England Transcendentalists and shared their reverence for nature and impatience with religious orthodoxy. Hawthorne's works offer a probing investigation into the psychology of nineteenth-century America as it moved beyond its Puritan past toward a more inclusive national identity. 

Novels by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1. A Rill from the Town-Pump
  2. An Old Woman's Tale
  3. Benjamin Franklin
  4. Chippings with a Chisel
  5. Circe's Palace
  6. David Swan
  7. Dr. Heidegger's Experiment
  8. Drowne's Wooden Image
  9. Edward Fane's Rosebud
  10. Egotism; or, The Bosom Serpent
  11. Endicott and the Red Cross
  12. Ethan Brand
  13. Fancy's Show-Box
  14. Feathertop
  15. Fire Worship
  16. Footprints on the Seashore
  17. Graves and Goblins
  18. How Theseus Slays the Minotaur
  19. John Inglefield's Thanksgiving
  20. Legends of the Province House: I. Howe's Masquerade
  21. Legends of the Province House: II. Edward Randolph's Portrait
  22. Legends of the Province House: III. Lady Eleanore's Mantle
  23. Legends of the Province House: IV. Old Esther Dudley
  24. Little Annie's Ramble
  25. The Ambitious Guest
  26. The Antique Ring
  27. The Artist of the Beautiful
  28. The Birthmark
  29. The Boston Massacre
  30. The Canterbury Pilgrims
  31. The Celestial Railroad
  32. The Chimaera
  33. The Christmas Banquet
  34. The Devil in Manuscript
  35. The Dragon's Teeth
  36. The Gentle Boy
  37. The Ghost of Dr. Harris
  38. The Golden Fleece
  39. The Golden Touch
  40. The Gorgon's Head
  41. The Gray Champion
  42. The Great Carbuncle
  43. The Great Stone Face
  44. The Hall of Fantasy
  45. The Haunted Mind
  46. The Hollow of the Three Hills
  47. The Intelligence Office
  48. The Lilly's Quest
  49. The Maypole of Merry Mount
  50. The Minister's Black Veil
  51. The New Adam and Eve
  52. The Old Apple-Dealer
  53. The Paradise of Children
  54. The Pomegranate Seeds
  55. The Procession of Life
  56. The Prophetic Pictures
  57. The Pygmies
  58. The Seven Vagabonds
  59. The Shaker Bridal
  60. The Sister-Years
  61. The Snow Image: A Childish Miracle
  62. The Three Golden Apples
  63. The Threefold Destiny
  64. The Toll-Gatherer's Day
  65. The Village Uncle
  66. The Vision of the Fountain
  67. The Wayside. Introductory.
  68. The Wedding Knell
  69. The White Old Maid
  70. The Wives of the Dead
  71. Wakefield
  72. Young Goodman Brown

Essays by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1. Buds and Bird-Voices
  2. My Visit to Niagara

Poems by Nathaniel Hawthorne

  1. Address to the Moon
  2. Earthly Pomp
  3. Go to the Grave
  4. Oh Could I Raise the Darken'd Veil