Nathaniel Hawthorne

An Author of Gothic Literature

The Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorn was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel and Elizabeth Hathorne. Due to the fact that a relative was a key player in the Salem witch Trials, he added a ""w" to distinguish himself from the history of his family including John Hathorne." (European Graduate School, 1) After going to Bowduin College, he published his first work, Fanshawe, which he later attempted to suppress because he did not believe it was as good as his other literary master pieces.

Gothic Literature

Gothic literature is a "sub genre of romanticism using sublime and overt use of the supernatural and motifs of a character who is both evil and good." (StudyGuide.org, 1) Authors who specialize in gothic literature write usually in short stories and short novels. The landscapes and settings in these stories are depicted as very darks as well as the story itself. The Gothic literature genre is also know to many people as a horror genre.

His Works

His most famous piece of literature was by far the Scarlet Letter. He was inspired to write this novel when he found an old cloth scarlet letter A in his attic one day. He spent most of his awake time over the next year and a half writing and critiquing his novel until it was complete. The novel was a story of an adulteress and her lover who, after being caught, was forced to wear a scarlet A on her clothing. This book was one of the first to he mass produced and was criticized as well as praised for it morbidity and taboo topics.

Connection to Literature

Along with other authors like Edgar Allen Poe, Hawthorne revolutionized what was socially excepted. The topic of adultery, which was featured in the Scarlet Letter, was something that had never been written about before not to mention widely distributed. It was a very morbid story consisting of almost no positive themes.

Works cited

"Nathaniel Hawthorne - Biography." Nathaniel Hawthorne. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.



"Gothic Period of American Literature - 1800-1850." Gothic Period of American Literature - 1800-1850. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.