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Creator / Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Photograph between circa 1860 and circa 1864

"Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important, in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not."
Nathaniel Hawthorne, from The American Notebooks

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 May 19, 1864) was a noted American dark romantic writer most noted as the author of The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter. Hawthorne's great-great grandfather was John Hathorne, the only judge involved in the Salem witch trials who never repented of his actions, and Nathaniel is said to have added the W to his name to disassociate himself from his notorious ancestors. Hawthorne was a contemporary of and acquainted with most of the other noted authors of the silver age of American letters, most notably Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Henry David Thoreau, and Herman Melville, who dedicated Moby-Dick to Hawthorne. In addition to his famous novels, Hawthorne was also noted for his short stories collected in Twice Told Tales and Mosses from an old Manse, and he also wrote one rather sanitized biography of Bowdoin College classmate and close personal friend U.S Senator Franklin Pierce, who later became the 14th president of the United States. In between stints of writing, Hawthorne worked as a civil servant, starting as a "weigher and gauger" at the Boston Custom house and eventually spending four years as the U.S. Consul in Liverpool, England. Hawthorne's initial fame as a writer centered on his originality, nowadays he's most noted for their dark psychological intensity.

Hawthorne has also left an inadvertent mark on architectural history, as his Salem Massachusetts birthplace, his childhood home in Raymond, Maine, and the Old Manse in Concord (which was also occupied by Ralph Waldo Emerson) have all been preserved in his honor, along with the famous House of the Seven Gables.

Works by Nathaniel Hawthorne with Trope Pages:

Tropes used by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

  • Historical Fiction: Hawthorne wrote quite a lot of this and as such can serve as a gateway for some aspects of American history glossed over in other arenas.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Hawthorne as a romantic straddled this line quite a lot among his short stories. You'd be forgiven for not knowing what to make of what appears to be endless metaphors in The Scarlet Letter without having read a lot of his short fiction. As Hawthorne had no problem telling stories with the supernatural as real, stories where the supernatural has a rational explanation and sometimes giving the reader a good Mind Screw to guess which it was.
  • Tar and Feathers: In My Kinsman Major Molineux, set right before the American Revolution, a young man newly arrived from England tries to seek out a relative (the title character) who is a person of importance in the colonial government, and a potential source of employment in the new world. When he asks around, he's eventually told by a strangely amused person that his relative will be passing by shortly. Sure enough, he seems Major Molineux passing by—being paraded through the streets, tarred and feathered, by the Sons of Liberty
  • Title Drop Anthology:
    • The Birthmark and Other Stories (edited by Maxine Greene): A collection of nine stories, including "The Birthmark".
    • The Celestial Railroad and Other Stories: A collection of eighteen stories, including "The Celestial Railroad".
    • Dr. Heidegger's Experiment and Other Stories (edited by Michael Hulse): A collection of fifteen stories, and "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" is the ninth story.
    • Mosses from an Old Manse: A collection of twenty-three stories, the first of which is titled "The Old Manse".
    • The Snow Image and Other Stories of the Supernatural: A collection of thirty-three stories, including "The Snow Image", which is the thirty-first story in the collection.
    • Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories: A collection of seven stories, of which "Young Goodman Brown" is third.