Author(s): Nathaniel Hawthorne
Delve into a psychological romance for all time through Hawthorne's meditation on human alienation and its effect on the soul. In Nathaniel Hawthorne's dark novel, The Scarlet Letter, a single sinful act ruins the lives of three people. None more so than Hester Prynne, a young, beautiful, and dignified woman, who conceived a child out of wedlock and receives the public punishment of having to always wear a scarlet "A" on her clothing. She refuses to reveal the father of her child, which could lighten her sentence. Her husband, the aptly-named Roger Chillingworth, who Hester thought had died in a shipwreck but was actually being held captive by Native Americans, arrives at the exact moment of her deepest public shaming and vows to get revenge. Her lover, Arthur Dimmesdale, remains safely unidentified, but is wracked with guilt. Though originally published in 1850, the story is set in seventeenth-century Massachusetts among Hawthorne's Puritan ancestors. In The Scarlet Letter, he created a story that highlighted both their weaknesses and their strengths. His knowledge of their beliefs and his admiration for their way of life was balanced by his concerns about their rigid and oppressive rules. This book, in an elegantly designed, cloth-bound, portable format with an elastic closure, is the perfect gift for anyone who wants to rediscover this classic or ponder the struggle between maintaining personal integrity and meeting society's demands.
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE (1804-1864) was a prolific American writer of fiction, including eight novels. He also worked in local and national politics, with an appointment in Europe during the presidency of Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne is considered to be one of the greatest American writers. MIKE LEE DAVIS is a retired English professor and the former Honors Program Director at Cameron University. He holds a Ph.D. in American Literature from Princeton University and is the author of Reading the Text That Isn't There: Paranoia in the Nineteenth-century American Novel.