Assessment of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered one of the greatest of American fiction writers. The Scarlet Letter: A Romance, with its balanced structure, simple, expressive language, and superb use of symbols is a recognized classic of American literature. The novel e xamines the questions of pride, sin and guilt, and retribution within the milieu of Puritan America, a period which fascinated Hawthorne." from Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism, Vol 2 p290.
"Few other American authors, with the possible exception of Henry James, have engaged in so deliberate a literatry apprenticeship as Hawthorne...He achieved an unfaltering reputation as an author of short stories, romances, essays, and children's books. He is remembered not only for furthering the development of the short story form, but also for distinguishing between the novel and the romance. The prefaces to his long works elucidate his theory of the "neutral ground"-- the junction between the actual and the imaginary--where romance takes place. He is noted for his masterful exploration of the psychology of guilt and sin" from: Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Volume 4 p1569
"Hawthorne is an acknowledged master of American fiction. His novel The Scarlet Letter (1850) is one of the most-read classics of American literature." from Literary Gothic volume 2 page 363
"Critics have called The Scarlet Letter the greatest book ever written in the Western Hemnisphere." from MasterPlots, volume 10, p 5826
Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1860
This is a picture of Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1860, at about age 55. Hawthorne was a great writer of fiction, though he did write one non-fiction book about Franklin Pierce.