Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 53

Nathaniel Hawthorne - Biography, Writings

salem including england stories

Writer, born in Salem, Massachusetts, USA. A descendant of a judge in the Salem witch trials, he spent a solitary, bookish childhood with his widowed and reclusive mother. After graduating from Bowdoin College, he returned to Salem and prepared for a writing career with 12 years of solitary study and writing interrupted by summer tours through the NE. After privately publishing a novel, Fanshawe (1828), he began publishing stories in the Token and New England Magazine. These original allegories of New England Puritanism, including such classic stories as ‘The Minister's Black Veil’, were collected in Twice-Told Tales (1837). A brief period of paid employment, including the compilation of popular children's works and a spell at the Boston Custom House during 1839–41 (thanks to his friend, Senator Franklin Pierce) was followed by a half-year's residence at the transcendentalist community, Brook Farm. In 1842 he married Sophia Amelia Peabody, also a transcendentalist, and they moved to Concord, MA, where he began a friendship with Henry David Thoreau.

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