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The Scarlet Letter [Paperback]

By Nathaniel Hawthorne (Author)
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Item description for The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne...

A young woman, publicly scorned for bearing an illegitimate child, refuses to be vanquished by the seventeenth-century Boston community

Publishers Description
Hailed by Henry James as "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.
With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Newsweek - 02/09/2009 page 17

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Bantam Classics
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 6.9" Width: 4.27" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.27 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 1997
Publisher   Bantam Classics
ISBN  0553210092  
ISBN13  9780553210095  

Availability  202 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 20, 2017 05:18.
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More About Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of proud New England seafarers. He lived in genteel poverty with his widowed mother and two young sisters in a house filled with Puritan ideals and family pride in a prosperous past. His boyhood was, in most respects, pleasant and normal. In 1825 he was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and he returned to Salem determined to become a writer of short stories. For the next twelve years he was plagued with unhappiness and self-doubts as he struggled to master his craft. He finally secured some small measure of success with the publication of his Twice-Told Tales (1837). His marriage to Sophia Peabody in 1842 was a happy one. The Scarlet Letter (1850), which brought him immediate recognition, was followed by The House of the Seven Gables (1851). After serving four years as the American Consul in Liverpool, England, he traveled in Italy; he returned home to Massachusetts in 1860. Depressed, weary of writing, and failing in health, he died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Ross C. Murfin, professor of English at and former provost of Southern Methodist University, has also taught at the University of Virginia, Yale University, and the University of Miami, where he was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of such books as Swinburne, Hardy, Lawrence and the Burden of Belief and The Poetry of D. H. Lawrence: Texts and Contexts. He is coauthor, with Supryia Ray, of The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms (second edition) and series editor of Bedford/St. Martin's popular Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism.


Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in Salem, in the state of Massachusetts. Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 and died in 1864.

Nathaniel Hawthorne has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bantam Classics

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1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Authors, A-Z > ( H ) > Hawthorne, Nathaniel
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Scarlet Letter?

A memorable book  Aug 21, 2007
I read The Scarlet Letter when I was in 10th grade more than 14 years ago. This was one of the three novels, the other two being Beowolf and Great Gatsy, that I remember reading, which tells you how boring high school curriculum was and also how outstanding this book is among its peers.
Lovers of Classic Literature   Jul 23, 2007
I have made it a point to read as many classic novels as possible. I just recently read this version of the Scarlet Letter and say it is a must read. The book itself was in great condition, it even smelled new!
Even better when it's not required reading in school  Jul 16, 2007
Wow, I can't even put into words how good this book was, and so much better the second time around. The classic tale of Hester Pryne, forced to wear The Scarlet Letter as a sign to all of her adultery, but she refuses to name her lover who is then forced to bear his guilt in silence.

Enough reviewers have recounted the story better than I could. Suffice it to say I loved Hawthorne's prose, it was very dense and lyrical at the same time, and you have to pay close attention or you might have to backup and reread a paragraph or two. His descriptions of the scenery and people came alive, especially the character of young Pearl. And I very much enjoyed the scenes in the forest -- it was amazing how Hawthorne brought it all to life, even the sounds of the babbling brook.

Highly recommended to anyone looking to discover (or rediscover) an old classic. Side note to some of the young misses who clearly weren't happy at having this book as required reading in school -- you really really should try to work harder on your spelling, punctuation and grammar when criticizing a great masterpiece such as this.
A story of deceit and redemption  Jun 12, 2007
I highly recommend this book for those who wish to escape from the real world through this alternate reality! Witness strange old fashioned punishments and let your ethics be applied to this imaginative play. The Scarlet letter illustrates the message of being honest and embracing your flaws and your talents or else it will lead to your downfall. When Hester is punished to wear her scarlet letter and to be publicly ridiculed for her sins, Hester chooses to avoid as much human contact as possible. Whenever she had to go into public she described her goings as torture, for every single person in town was looking down at her with shame and disgust. As Hester deals with her punishment and her troublesome child, Pearl, Hester learns to use her skills with crafts to help those in need. Honesty is also shown as an essential lesson in Scarlet letter as seen through the downfall of Pastor Dimmesdale, who refuses to tell anyone that he was Hester's partner in sin, in fear that it would ruin his prestige. His evil secret eventually drove him mad and he soon became cursed with visions and serious health problems. He eventually was unable to take the guilt of lying to his congregation and confesses to his followers who became shocked at such an unbelievable confession of such a "holy" man. Read this book and experience the plot come alive with its dark imagery and masterful writing! I highly recommend this book for those who are interested in historical fiction, and the message of the book will never be forgotten, it encourages the need of forgiveness for the regretful and proves that redemption can be found by anyone.
Simply a marvel  Jun 5, 2007
Written in 1850, The Scarlet Letter is a work of art and brilliance. Hawthorne's intricate writing and entrancing plot make this novel a classic in American Literature. The characters and the symbols they represent can keep even the most critical readers lost in thought. The book itself seems not to be written as merely a story, but rather as a lesson for the reader, often leaving one lost in thought for days after finishing.

The book opens with a long, somewhat unnecessary introduction. If you are an impatient reader, skip this. It is not necessary to the overall plot. However, once you move into the actual story, the novel is hard to put away. I spent two weeks reading a novel that I usually could read in two days. The language is dense and the ideas masked and I often found myself re-reading the same paragraph, page, or even chapter just to ensure that I had found the real meaning.

The main character, Hester Prynne, is found to have had an adulterous affair with an unknown and unannounced lover and to be with child. Living in a puritan society, her punishment is harsh since the Bible is their law. She is forced to stand on a scaffold with her illegitimate child and bear the discrimination of the town. Furthermore, Hester is required to wear a letter "A" on her breast to show the extent of her sins for the rest of her life. The priest of the town, the Reverend Dimmsdale, takes pity on her and tries to console Hester and her daughter Pearl. To further complicate things, Hester's husband, a man now known as Chillingworth, returns to the town after a two-year absence. Disgraced by his wife's actions, he pretends to be a physician to avoid any relation with Hester's scandalous acts. The novel progresses through the drama and effects of the psyche on the characters.

Overall, the writing style, while sometimes dense and difficult to comprehend, is unique and entrancing to read. A bit forward in his approach, Hawthorne lavishes in detail and thought of the characters, acting as God and narrator. The book, admittedly, is hard to read and often simply confusing as to what Hawthorne is trying to get at. Despite all of these shortcomings, I still find that the novel is one worth reading over and over again. It is one of those books that can be read thirty times, yet still manages to hold another surprise the thirty-first.

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