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The Scarlet Letter (American Library) by…
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The Scarlet Letter (American Library) (original 1850; edition 1998)

by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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21,36222063 (3.39)1 / 634
Member:roblong
Title:The Scarlet Letter (American Library)
Authors:Nathaniel Hawthorne
Info:Longman (1998), Edition: 1, Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, US Fiction

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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

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English (212)  Spanish (3)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (220)
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Read in college. As with books by Thomas Hardy and Henry James that I also read in college, I admired this novel without really feeling a connection to the writer or wanting to read any of his work for pleasure. ( )
  sturlington | Feb 27, 2015 |
Reception to The Scarlet Letter is divided into four camps - those who read it in high school and disliked it, to spite the people who liked it and their teachers besides; those who read it in high school and liked it, to spite the people who disliked it and show their intellectual superiority; those who feel a certain fealty to it by dint of its pedestal as the 'Great American Novel'; and finally the fourth camp, which is composed of people who read it and concluded it genuinely wasn't all that excellent.

As you may have guessed, I'm in the fourth camp, and I am neither ashamed nor as proud as both those who like it and those who dislike it. I bear no ill-will towards long sentences or romanticism, nor do I have some ridiculous opposition (or sentimentality towards) 'classic literature'.

My issues with The Scarlet Letter are mainly that it's very plot-heavy, which is problematic if only because said heavy plot is dragged down by its maudlin moments and its general heavy-handedness. Unfortunately for the adolescent faux-rebels against literary analysis, The Scarlet Letter is laden with very obvious and not particularly clever symbolism, and complaints about the artificiality and implausibility of the fruits of New Criticism, formalism and general close-reading, although somewhat meritorious with more interesting literature, do not apply here. It is very symbolic, but to the point where the lay-reader in the 1850s would be able to readily comprehend it in a surface reading.

Is The Scarlet Letter historically significant? Absolutely. Is it the worst novel ever published? Absolutely not. Is it particularly good compared to its European contemporaries? In my opinion, no. ( )
  wpotash | Feb 22, 2015 |
I enjoyed the story but the writing was a chalenge at times. I do not mean that I could not comprehend it but the sentences were too long. This made the book drag on. ( )
  Natalie_Walker | Feb 13, 2015 |
The language was a little bit difficult to me. The story is interesting and I enjoyed some descriptions but, I found the reflexions about sin, guilt, remorse... and puritan moral in general, too long and sometimes boring. ( )
  marialluisa | Feb 11, 2015 |
When I think that high school students read this novel, along with such works as Moby Dick and Billy Budd, as an introduction to literature, it is no surprise that most teenagers never develop a love for reading. As a 50 year old man, with thousands of books behind me of all genres, including 17th and 18th century English and Russian classics, I was able to tolerate it, but just barely. In fact, I found it far less approachable than either Dickens or Dostoyevsky.

The first half of the novel is painfully slow, improving only gradually near the end. I’m sure there are many who will laud this as a timeless classic, however as one who reads for pleasure, I can say that there is very little pleasure to be had in this novel.

Hester Prynne conceives a child out of wedlock and is branded with the scarlet letter “A” by the Puritan settlement of New England. The novel follows her life in the settlement as her young child, Pearl, grows into a mischievous young girl and the paternity of the child is questioned. Several interesting characters appear, but the language is so tortured and florid, that it simply doesn’t read well in the present day, especially to Literature I high school students, by far the book’s largest readership. ( )
  santhony | Feb 8, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 212 (next | show all)
No one who has taken up the Scarlet Letter will willingly lay it down till he has finished it; and he will do well not to pause, for he cannot resume the story where he left it. He should give himself up to the magic power of the style, without stopping to open wide the eyes of his good sense and judgment, and shake off the spell; or half the weird beauty will disappear like a dissolving view. To be sure, when he closes the book, he will feel very much like the giddy and bewildered patient who is just awaking from his first experiment of the effects of sulphuric ether. The soul has been floating or flying between earth and heaven, with dim ideas of pain and pleasure strangely mingled, and all things earthly swimming dizzily and dreamily, yet most beautiful, before the half shut eye. That the author himself felt this sort of intoxication as well as the willing subjects of his enchantment, we think, is evident in many pages of the last half of the volume. His imagination has sometimes taken him fairly off his feet.
 

» Add other authors (106 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nathaniel Hawthorneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baym, NinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Connolly, Thomas E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dwiggins, W AIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Francisco, SellénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gibson, FloNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Harding, BrianEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, DickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marx, LeoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wauters, AnnieNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes.
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This is the main work for The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
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Book description
The Scarlet Letter is about a woman who is an outcast in her community due to her child outside of her marriage. It is the story of her life and the life of her child as they are scorned for their sin while the father looks on blameless. This story is about dealing with guilt and seclusion.

I had heard this story for a while. My father always brought up the "A" that was sewn into Hester's dresses. And I think the story-line is really interesting, but I just didn't really like it. There were whole chapters that I felt were pointless. It was just a really slow read.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553210092, Mass Market Paperback)

Hailed by Henry James as "the finest piece of imaginative writing yet put forth in the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation's historical and moral roots for the material of great tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the novel shows the terrible impact a single, passionate act has on the lives of three members of the community: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.

With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity's unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:49 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

Hester Prynne, a young wife in colonial New England, is sentenced to wear a scarlet "A" on her clothing, as a public acknowledgement of her sin of adultery.

(summary from another edition)

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39 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0142437263, 0143105442, 0141199458

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