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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)


Descended from the early Puritan settlers of Salem, Massachusetts, and himself a native of that community, author Nathaniel Hawthorne drew upon his knowledge of both family and local history in creating the plots and settings for such critically acclaimed works as The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. While Hawthorne’s evocation of old New England added an important dimension to his fiction, it was his exploration of the psychological and moral aspects of the human condition that distinguished his work, giving it a universal quality that raised it far above the realm of regional literature. Although his short stories and novels were widely read, Hawthorne failed throughout his career to reap financial rewards commensurate with his popular success, and never earned sufficient income from his writing to support himself and his family.


Mathew Brady Studio (active 18441883)
Albumen silver print
Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

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