The Scarlet Letter Connections and Further Reading
by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Sources for Further Study

Baym, Nina “The Scarlet Letter”: A Reading. Boston: Twayne, 1986. Full-length critical introduction that examines the setting, characters, and themes. One fascinating chapter treats the scarlet “A” as a character. Includes a chronology and extended bibliography.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter.” New York: Chelsea House, 1986. Part of the Modern Critical Interpretations series. Offers seven fascinating, fairly sophisticated critical essays written after 1962. Contains several approaches to the work as not a novel but as a typical American romance.

Boudreau, Kristin. “Hawthorne’s Model of Christian Charity.” In Sympathy in American Literature: American Sentiments from Jefferson to the Jameses. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2002. This chapter relates Hawthorne’s novel to the question of Christian charity in the writings of Puritan governor John Winthrop.

Colacurcio, Michael J. New Essays on “The Scarlet Letter.” New York: Cambridge University Press, 1985. Offers serious students a brief review of the different critical approaches brought to the novel from the time of its publication to the 1980’s.

Durst Johnson, Claudia. Understanding the Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1995. This volume is an excellent source book for historical and critical texts relating to Hawthorne’s novel.

Gerber, John C., ed. Twentieth-Century Interpretations of “The Scarlet Letter”: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968. Twenty essays for the beginning student that explore background, form, techniques, and interpretations. Includes a useful chronology that pairs dates in Hawthorne’s life with historical events.

Gross, Seymour, ed. A “Scarlet Letter” Handbook. San Francisco: Wadsworth, 1960. A discussion of Hawthorne’s earlier fiction, followed by a collection of brief essays on themes, characters, symbolism, and structure. Includes topics for discussion and student papers and an annotated bibliography.

Thomas, Brook. “Love and Politics, Sympathy and Justice in The Scarlet Letter.” In The Cambridge Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne, edited by Richard H. Millington. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 2004. This essay examines the question of marriage as it relates to the Puritan tradition and to Hawthorne’s novel.

Turner, Arlin. The Merrill Studies in “The Scarlet Letter.” Columbus, Ohio: Charles E. Merrill, 1970. Essays for the general reader, including pieces on Hawthorne’s process of composition, reviews of the novel dating back to its publication in 1850, nineteenth century commentary, and a sampling of twentieth century approaches.

Bibliography and Further Reading

(Novels for Students)


Baym, Nina. "Plot in Hawthorne's Romances." In Ruined Eden of the Present, edited by G. R. Thompson and Virgil L. Lokke. Purdue University Press, 1981, pp. 49-70.

———. The Scarlet Letter: A Reading. Boston: Twayn, 1986.

Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Office of the Scarlet Letter. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.

Carpenter, Frederic I. "Scarlet A Minus." In College English, Vol. 5, 1944, pp. 173-80.

Coxe, Arthur Cleveland. "The Writings of Hawthorne." In Church Review, January, 1851, pp. 489-511.

Duyckinck, Evert A. Review in Literary World, March 30, 1850, pp. 323-25.

Gerber, John C. Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Scarlet Letter. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1968.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter. Norwalk, Connecticut: Heritage Press, 1973.

James, Henry. Hawthorne. Macmillan & Co., London, 1879.

Matthiessen, F. O. American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and Whitman. Oxford University Press, 1941.

The Scarlet Letter; an annotated text, backgrounds, and sources. New York: Norton, 1962.

Whipple, Edwin Percy. Review in Graham's Magazine, May, 1850, pp. 345-46.

Further Reading

Berlant, Lauren Gail. The Anatomy of National Fantasy, Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday...

(The entire section is 1,744 words.)