Segments in this Video

History of New England (04:10)


In the mid-19th century a group of writers surfaced in the northeastern U.S., one of which was Nathaniel Hawthorne. Puritan culture heavily influenced the burgeoning economy and government.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Early Years (03:09)

Hawthorne was born in 1804. The death of his father heavily impacted his personality.

Moving to Herbert Street (02:48)

The Manning family protected Hawthorne and his family after the death of his father. Though the writer lived with them until he married, he later showed no feelings for his mother's side of the family.

Nathaniel Hawthorne: Growing Up (02:03)

As an adolescent, Hawthorne read and roamed the streets of Salem. He briefly returned to Maine with his family. Letters and a familial newspaper he and his sister Luisa created describe how Hawthorne was exposed to music and literature.

Hawthorne's College Years (02:32)

Instead of attending Harvard, like most young men from Salem, Hawthorne matriculated from Bowdoin College, close to his mother's location in Maine. Here he acquired lifelong friends.

Hawthorne's Early Writing Career (02:02)

Post-graduation, Hawthorne returned to Herbert Street and began to write, occasionally doing clerical work for his family's business. "Fanshawe" was published anonymously at his own expense in 1818. Published in 1837, "Twice Told Tales" was the first novel published under his own name.

Old Corner Bookstore (02:42)

William B. Ticknor and James T. Field greatly influenced Hawthorne's career and published his first novel. He became engaged to Sophia Peabody at age 34 and gained his first regular job.

The Old Manse (01:42)

Hawthorne began a family, encountered Ralph Waldo Emerson, and wrote "Mosses from an Old Manse" during the four years he lived in Concord. He accepted a position as a surveyor at the Custom House back in Salem, but was fired five years later.

Hawthorne's Literary Success (02:24)

In 1850, "The Scarlet Letter" was published by Ticknor and Fields. Shortly thereafter the family relocated to the Berkshires and Hawthorne wrote "The House of the Seven Gables".

Back to Concord (01:57)

With Louisa May Alcott, Emerson, and Thoreau nearby, the town became an epicenter of literary achievement. Hawthorne wrote three books while in residence— "The Blythesdale Romance", "Tanglewood Tales" and a biography on Franklin Pierce. After being elected, Pierce offered Hawthorne Counsel of the U.S. Government in Liverpool, England.

Traveling across the Continent (02:21)

When the government position came to an end, Hawthorne saved enough income to travel for four additional years. In Rome, he began his longest and most complex work, "The Marvel Faun".

Hawthorne's Later Years (02:18)

Hawthorne wrote the majority of "The Marvel Faun" in a house in Leamington Spa prior to returning to Concord. He died in his sleep while on a trip to Canada with Pierce.

Credits: Hawthorne (00:37)

Credits: Hawthorne

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Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer who enjoyed considerable success with his romantic tales usually set in in the puritanical world of his home state Massachusetts. He travelled extensively in England and Italy and reflected American views on the old world of Europe. This video explores his roots in puritanical culture, his growth at Bowdoin College, his explosion in the literary world, his political appointments and his journey abroad. 

Length: 32 minutes

Item#: BVL114798

ISBN: 978-1-68272-818-5

Copyright date: ©2011

Closed Captioned

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