Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, the son and grandson of proud New England seafarers. He lived in genteel poverty with his widowed mother and two young sisters in a house filled with Puritan ideals and family pride in a prosperous past. His boyhood was, in most respects, pleasant and normal. In 1825 he was graduated from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, and he returned to Salem determined to become a writer of short stories. For the next twelve years he was plagued with unhappiness and self-doubts as he struggled to master his craft. He finally secured some small measure of success with the publication of his
Twice-Told Tales (1837). His marriage to Sophia Peabody in 1842 was a happy one.
The Scarlet Letter (1850), which brought him immediate recognition, was followed by
The House of the Seven Gables (1851). After serving four years as the American Consul in Liverpool, England, he traveled in Italy; he returned home to Massachusetts in 1860. Depressed, weary of writing, and failing in health, he died on May 19, 1864, at Plymouth, New Hampshire.
Roger Chillingworth arrives in New England after two years' separation from his wife, Hester Prynne, to find her on trial for adultery. She refuses to reveal her lover and is sentenced to wear a scarlet letter 'A' sewn onto her clothes. Resolving to discover the man's identity, Roger sets out to destroy his rival, while Hester desperately tries to protect her illegitimate daughter from a society determined to condemn them both.A smash hit in its day, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is the gripping tale of three New England settlers at odds with the seventeenth-century Puritan society in which they live, and remains one of literature's most evocative portraits of a love triangle.This beautiful Macmillan Collector's Library edition of The Scarlet Letter features an afterword by broadcaster Jonty Claypole.