Nathaniel Hawthorne Biography

Nathaniel Hawthorne Biography

Nathaniel Hawthorne decided to become a writer after graduating from college, but he had to take a number of “regular” jobs during his lifetime to make ends meet. He feared his time in the labor force might compromise his writing ability, but in fact, toil seems to have stimulated his authorship. His work environment during a stint as measurer in the Boston Customhouse is described in the preface to The Scarlet Letter, and his time spent working on an experimental farm resulted in the novel The Blithedale Romance. Despite years laboring at jobs other than those that involved his pen, Hawthorne managed to marry, raise three children, and, most important to the literary world, create a treasury of novels, histories, and story collections before he died at age sixty.

Facts and Trivia

  • Hawthorne’s great-grandfather was a magistrate during the 1692 Salem witch trials; he was instrumental in decrying the guilt of a number of victims.
  • Among Hawthorne’s many illustrious classmates at Bowdoin College were the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and future president Franklin Pierce.
  • The author’s last name was originally spelled “Hathorne.” He changed it after graduating from college so that the spelling would more closely match the pronunciation.
  • Hawthorne was friends with a number of Transcendentalists, including Emerson and Thoreau, though he never fully embraced their views. But that didn’t create any bad blood. Emerson was a pallbearer at Hawthorne’s funeral.
  • Herman Melville dedicated his great novel Moby-Dick to Hawthorne, his good friend.
Additional Content
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