The Scarlet Letter
Hester Prynne is a beautiful young woman. She is also an outcast. In the eyes of her neighbours she has committed an unforgivable sin. Everyone knows that her little daughter, Pearl, is the product of an illicit affair but no one knows the identity of Pearl's father. Hester's refusal to name him brings more condemnation upon her. But she stands strong in the face of public scorn, even when she is forced to wear the sign of her shame sewn onto her clothes: the scarlet letter 'A' for 'Adulteress'
'One of the greatest allegories in all literature' D.H. Lawrence
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on 4th July 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. One of his descendants was John Hathorne who presided over the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Hawthorne's father died when he was four years old. He was educated at Bowdoin College where he became friends with the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He published his first novel, Fanshawe in 1828 and after this his stories began to appear in periodicals. He in 1842 and he and his wife Sophia went on to have three children. He published his most famous work, The Scarlet Letter, in 1850, and in that same year he became friends with the novelist Herman Melville. Melville later dedicated Moby Dick to Hawthorne. Between 1853 and 1860 he lived in Liverpool in England while he was working as an American consul, and then in Italy, before returning to his home in Concord, Massachusetts. Nathaniel Hawthorne died on 19th May 1864.