Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, "Wakefield" was first published in May of 1835 in the New England Magazine. It was released again two years later in Hawthorne's first published collection of his stories called Twice-Told Tales.
Hawthorne probably started writing this short story in early 1835 or possibly late 1834. It is thought that he was inspired to write "Wakefield" after reading an article in the Gentleman's Magazine which dealt with similar themes of running away from a family but never really leaving it behind. In fact, Hawthorne often incorporated ideas he read in periodicals into his stories.
Even though this story is set during the 1830s when it was written, it still contains themes that are easily accessible to today's readers. In fact, E.L. Doctorow had his own version of "Wakefield" published in the New Yorker Magazine in 2008, which moves the story from late Georgian England to contemporary America. Despite these changes to the setting, the theme of exiting the accepted system of society still resonates.