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The Scarlet Letter (Penguin Classics)by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Synopses & Reviews
A dramatic, moving depiction of social defiance and social deference, of passion and human frailty
Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne's concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Arthur Dimmesdale stands as a classic study of a seld divided; trapped by the rules of society, he suppresses his passion and disavows his lover, Hester, and their daughter, Pearl. As Nina Baym writes in her Introduction, The Scarlet Letter was not written as realistic, historical fiction, but as a "romance," a creation of the imagination that discloses the truth of the human heart.
Set in the harsh Puritan community of 17th-century Boston, this is a tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth. The mother of the child, Hester Prynne, is publicly disgraced and ostracized, but emerges as a true heroine of American fiction.
A stark and allegorical tale of adultery, guilt, and social repression in Puritan New England, The Scarlet Letter is a foundational work of American literature. Nathaniel Hawthorne's exploration of the dichotomy between the public and private self, internal passion and external convention, gives us the unforgettable Hester Prynne, who discovers strength in the face of ostracism and emerges as a heroine ahead of her time.
'Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Massachusetts, this tale of an adulterous entanglement resulting in an illegitimate birth engendered the first true heroine of American fiction.
Introduction by Nina Baym
Notes by Thomas E. Connolly'
About the Author
Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1865) was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where he wrote short stories of American colonial history.
Nina Baym is the director of the School of Humanities and professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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