Selected Tales and Sketches (Penguin Classics)
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The short fiction of a writer who helped to shape the course of American literature. With a determined commitment to the history of his native land, Nathaniel Hawthorne revealed, more incisively than any writer of his generation, the nature of a distinctly American consciousness. The pieces collected here deal with essentially American matters: the Puritan past, the Indians, the Revolution. But Hawthorne was highly - often wickedly - unorthodox in his account of life in early America, and his precisely constructed plots quickly engage the reader's imagination. Written in the 1820s, 30s, and 40s, these works are informed by themes that reappear in Hawthorne's longer works: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. And, as Michael J. Colacurcio points out in his excellent introduction, they are themes that are now deeply embedded in the American literary tradition.
such an evening of sluggish enjoyment as the day has been, and go to bed inglorious. The same shivering reluctance, no doubt, has quelled, for a moment, the adventurous spirit of many a traveller, when his feet, which were destined to measure the earth around, were leaving their last tracks in the home-paths. In my own case, poor human nature may be allowed a few misgivings. I look upward, and discern no sky, not even an unfathomable void, but only a black, impenetrable nothingness, as though
success. Indeed the total achievement of his earlier tales and sketches is so remarkable that Hawthorne would merit a place in the first rank of American authors even if he had written none of his longer works. Nor would the literature of any modern nation-state be anything but significantly enhanced if Nathaniel Hawthorne had happened to be born there and to have subjected its peculiar moral history to his unique style of fictional analysis. Yet Hawthorne remains emphatically an American
thereby diminished into a sense of prettiness. The Beautiful Idea has no relation to size, and may be as perfectly developed in a space too minute for any but microscopic investigation, as within the ample verge that is measured by the arc of the rainbow. But, at all events, this characteristic minuteness in his objects and accomplishments made the world even more incapable, than it might otherwise have been, of appreciating Owen Warland’s genius. The boy’s relatives saw nothing better to be
general direction taken by the enthusiasm of the times, prompted to stand forth as a reformer in religion. In her native country, she had shown symptoms of irregular and daring thought, but, chiefly by the influence of a favorite pastor, was restrained from open indiscretion. On the removal of this clergyman, becoming dissatisfied with the ministry under which she lived, she was drawn in by the great tide of Puritan emigration, and visited Massachusetts within a few years after its first
Early Tales and of various essays and reviews in the field of American literature. He has also edited and contributed to a volume of New Essays on The Scarlet Letter. He is currently Professor of English and American Studies at UCLA. PENGUIN BOOKS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A. Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4P 2Y3 (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada