Student Companion to Nathaniel HawthorneBook - 1999
Unlike the current works of literary criticism available on Nathaniel Hawthorne, which are written for specialists and more sophisticated readers, this critical introduction is designed to meet the needs of high school students and general readers for accessible yet challenging literary criticism. It features a biographical chapter that relates his life to his work, a chapter on his career and contributions to American literature, and chapters that analyze his most important short stories and novels in turn. Examined are his best known and most frequently anthologized tales, and the romances The Scarlet Letter , The House of the Seven Gables , The Blithedale Romance , and The Marble Faun . Each of the novels is discussed in a separate chapter. Of additional value in the volume is a complete bibliography of Hawthorne's work, selected bibliography of critical and biographical sources, and lists of reviews of each novel and the stories, both from the time the literature was originally published and from contemporary sources.
The biographical chapter provides an overview of Hawthorne's life, including his years in Salem and Concord, Massachusetts. The chapter on his career traces Hawthorne's development as a writer, his contributions to the genre of the short story and the romance, and his influence on contemporaries and later writers. In examining the fiction itself, the chapters that follow feature close readings of texts that include analysis of setting, plot development, character development, and themes. The discussion of each novel features an alternate critical reading that introduces the reader to various critical approaches to fiction and highlights the richness in Hawthorne's work.