Although Hawthorne seems preoccupied with sin and guilt, he was far from being a fire-and-brimstone preacher. He believed that God is a spirit pervading all creation and that human failings are punished by natural processes. He did not believe in Heaven and Hell except as symbols of the happiness or suffering that people produce through their own actions. Hawthorne’s ghosts and demons are merely psychological symbols with interesting dramatic and artistic potentialities. This shy, hypersensitive writer had an iron will which enabled him to endure loneliness, discouragement, and financial hardship for the sake of his art. His life and work set a lasting example for American writers.
It is fitting that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth in 1804 came on the Fourth of July, for, if American writers of his youth were attempting a literary declaration of independence to complement the successful political one of 1776, Hawthorne’s fiction of the 1830’s, along with Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and fiction and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays and lectures of the same decade, rank as the fruition of that ambition.
Undoubtedly his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, exerted a powerful shaping influence on his work, even though his sea-captain father died when Nathaniel, the second of three children, was only four and even though Nathaniel did not evince much interest in the sea. No one could grow up in Salem...
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1804. On his father’s side, Hawthorne was descended from William Hathorne, who settled in Massachusetts in 1630 and whose son, John, was one of the judges in the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials. Hawthorne’s father, a sea captain, married Elizabeth Clarke Manning in 1801. His mother’s English ancestors immigrated to the New World in 1679; her brother, Robert, a successful businessman, assumed responsibility for her affairs after Captain Hathorne died of yellow fever in Suriname in 1808.
After his father’s death, Hawthorne, his two sisters, Elizabeth Manning and Maria Louisa, and his mother moved into the populous Manning household, a move that on one...
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Nathaniel Hawthorne, one of the greatest of all American fiction writers, was descended from William Hathorne (the w was added by Nathaniel himself while he was in college), who came to Massachusetts Bay from England with John Winthrop in 1630 and as a magistrate ordered the whipping of a Quaker woman in Salem. William’s son John was one of the three judges who presided over the Salem witch trials in 1692. These men were important figures in the early history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony; they were also guilty of great crimes. The family fortunes had declined since those early days—Nathaniel’s father was a ship captain who died in a distant port when the boy was only four years old—and Nathaniel, who was...
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1804. He attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine (1821-1824), and at this time began writing short stories for magazines, including some of them in his first collection, Twice Told Tales (1837). Although he is sometimes considered by critics as an “antitranscendentalist” because of his preoccupation with evil, the dangers of sexuality, and the hypocrisy of human beings, he did live for one year at the experimental transcendentalist community Brook Farm along with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Although his work does not celebrate nature as theirs does, it often does use it as a vehicle to explore issues of art and human behavior....
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Nathaniel Hawthorne Biography
Considered one of the greatest American writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804 – 1864), is a direct product of his New England background. His father was a sea captain, who died when the boy was only four. Reared in a reclusive setting, Hawthorne became an avid reader, as recorded by the huge number of books he borrowed from the local lending library in Salem, Massachusetts. His uncle sent him to Bowdoin College, where Hawthorne became good friends with the future president, Franklin Pierce, and future poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Hawthorne wrote, but destroyed most of his early writings; however, by the time he was 33, his writing style and content had matured. Critics...
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was descended from Puritan colonists responsible for persecuting the accused witches of seventeenth century Massachusetts. His sense of guilt over the superstitious cruelty of his ancestors is reflected in much of his writing. His father, a sea captain, died when Nathaniel was only four years old. That the writer grew up without a male role model and was surrounded by adoring female relatives helps to account for his personality, which has been consistently described by biographers as shy, inhibited, narcissistic, and introverted. Ironically, he was an exceptionally handsome young man who was much sought after by the young ladies.
With his widowed mother and his two sisters, Hawthorne had to live...
(The entire section is 1136 words.)