|About the Book|
Born in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne was the son and grandson of New England seafarers. After his fathers death from yellow fever, Hawthornes childhood was a solitary and often lonely one. In 1821 he attended Bowdoin College,MoreBorn in Salem, Massachusetts in 1804, Nathaniel Hawthorne was the son and grandson of New England seafarers. After his fathers death from yellow fever, Hawthornes childhood was a solitary and often lonely one. In 1821 he attended Bowdoin College, where he met and befriended Franklin Pierce, a future U.S. president. Hawthorne returned to Salem after his graduation in 1825. There followed a long period of seclusion in which Hawthorne established and refined his writing style. During this period he published his first novel, Fanshawe, and a number of short stories for magazines. In 1842 he married Sophia Peabody, a union plagued from the start by financial difficulties. Unable to survive on his writing alone, Hawthorne looked for ways to supplement his meager income. In the 1850s he served as United States Consul at Liverpool, England. In 1860 he returned to Concord. Ill and despondent, his writing became increasingly burdensome to him. In 1864, while on a trip with Pierce, Hawthorne died in his sleep in Plymouth, New Hampshire. During those years of self-exile, and before The Scarlet Letter was to catapult him into the literary limelight in 1850, Hawthorne wrote short tales and essays. Roaming the crooked streets of Salem, he collected legends, old stories and superstitions from the man-in-the-street of that day -- old women hunched around the fire, traveling tinkers, soap makers, the blacksmith. He wove these tales into his own fabrics, producing, among many others, these four haunting tales set in the White Mountains of Vermont: The Great Stone Face, The Ambitious Guest, The Great Carbuncle, and Sketches from Memory.