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History of the Text

The Scarlet Letter’s Reception and Publication History: Published in 1850, The Scarlet Letter was an instant best seller. Despite critical acclaim, religious leaders objected to the novel’s allegedly blatant depiction of immorality, while citizens of Salem disliked Nathaniel Hawthorne’s portrayal of their town in his introduction, “The Custom House.” Hawthorne, as described in his preface to The Scarlet Letter’s second edition, refused to change anything.

A Cornerstone of American Literature: The Scarlet Letter was one of the first mass-produced books in the United States and has been adapted into plays, films, and even a television miniseries. Hawthorne’s depiction of forbidden love inspired many artists after him to engage with the subjects of...

(The entire section is 231 words.)