The Scarlet Letter: Biography: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Mass. He was a bookish lonely child who lived with his unsociable mother. He graduated from Bowdoin College, and moved back to Salem. Knowing that he wanted to write, Nathaniel spent the next 12 years writing and touring through the Northeast. His first novel, Fanshawe, was published privately in 1828. From there, he began publishing stories about New England Puritanism in the Token and New England Magazine. They were republished in 1837 in the book Twice-Told Tales. In 1839, he began a job at the Boston Custom House that lasted until 1841. He then moved to a transcendentalist community, Brook Farm, wherein 1842 he married Sophia Amelia Peabody. Together, they moved to Concord, Mass. In 1845, he moved back to Salem where he became the Surveyor of Salem port for four years. At this time, he published more Puritan tales as in “Young Goodman Brown,” and “The Birthmark”; collections of his stories included Mosses from an Old Manse were published in 1846 and The Snow Image in 1851. When he left the surveyorship he wrote what critics consider his best novels. The first of these is The Scarlet Letter in 1850, The House of the Seven Gables in 1851, and The Blithdale Romance in1852. He also wrote two childrens classics: A Wonder-Book in 1852 and Tanglewood Tales in 1853. In 1852, he wrote a campaign biography of Franklin Pierce and was rewarded for it with the U.S. consultship at Liverpool in which he lived in England from 1853-58. For two years after that, he lived in Italy where he wrote, The Marble Faun, which he published when he came back to the United States in 1860. His last book was published in 1863 and was called Our Old Home. Hawthorne died in 1864.