HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Loading...

The Scarlet Letter (original 1850; edition 1961)

by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Maxwell Geismar (Afterword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
20,75720870 (3.4)1 / 586
Member:rsubber
Title:The Scarlet Letter
Authors:Nathaniel Hawthorne
Other authors:Maxwell Geismar (Afterword)
Info:Washington Square Press, Inc., New York,
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:fiction, literature, American literature, 19th century

Work details

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (197)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (206)
Showing 1-5 of 197 (next | show all)
The Scarlett Letter is a classic story set in Puritan New England. Hester Prynne, who bore a child out of wedlock while married to a man she thought was dead, has been ostracized by the community in which she lives. Horrified by this unbelievably unconscionable act (sarcasm intended), Hester is forced to wear a scarlett “A” on her at all times. The beliefs that these people held are ridiculous and laughable by today’s standards. She keeps secret the person with who she had an affair, Reverend Dimmesdale, who is revered by the community. Meanwhile, her old husband Roger Chillingsworth is secretly trying to destroy the Reverend. I never understood how the Reverend and everybody else in the story didn’t know that Chillingsworth was Hester’s husband. It was something that wasn’t well explained in the story.

Although there were elements of the story that I liked, it was really hard to get past some of the language in the story. Often times, it made the story hard to read and hard to understand what was trying to be communicated. It was also hard to relate to some of these characters. Not only are their beliefs hard to swallow, the actions don’t also seem terribly realistic. Still, the story itself is interesting and had a good bit of intrigue as well as good story elements, making it worth the read.

Carl Alves – author of Two For Eternity ( )
  Carl_Alves | Jun 30, 2014 |
I haven't read this since high school, and I hated it back then. However, it's our October book for book club. Hopefully I'll like it better this time around. ( )
  bonreads | Jun 11, 2014 |
I liked this book about Puritan ethics and hypocrisy. I found the reactions of the townspeople to Hester interesting as time goes by. ( )
  krin5292 | Jun 2, 2014 |
I feel like the best way to understand another time and place, one that may be so foreign to us now, is through storytelling, through novels. Instantly I am transported somewhere else to observe a world so far removed from my own. It can be frustrating - a lot of the time I wanted to shake various characters for their small mindedness, but then I had to remind myself that this world is all that they know, like mine is all I know. What is acceptable, or maybe frowned upon but not punished in the same way, today was a crime back then. The Scarlet Letter is a fascinating look into a world where God's word was Law, but what happens when you go against it? ( )
  crashmyparty | May 14, 2014 |
Like many others, I first encountered this book in high school, and at the time, I liked parts of it. As I read it a second time, I recall a sort of Jane Eyre or Frankenstein sort of romantic Gothic tone. It is a haunting example of the american Gothic; Roger Chillingworth is undoubtedly the face of the devil himself, and the child Pearl could be a sprite come from the darkest pits of hell - not because she does anything surprising fr a child, but the things she says to her mother are spot on. Pearl, who may not realize it, is aware of a lot of different things concerning her mother's guilty feelings and has the uncanny ability to remind her mother of her sin without necessarily reproaching her. It is as if she were possessed by a demon taunting Hester Prynne int he guise of a child.

But, as it is observed even now, Hester's and Reverend Dimmesdale's guilt is so strong that religious superstition engulfs what they experience in everyday life. Guilt leads people to fear and see the worst until finally, they must confess.

Not that Chillingworth's feelings of revenge are imaginary - here is a man who would poison himself with hate in order to bring the cruelest kind of revenge to his enemy.

Hawthorn's writing style is kind of long-winded and dry at times (much like that of his puritan ancestors) but I found the story interesting enough to suffer through his didactic digressions and his characters' self-inflicted sermons. ( )
  est-lm | May 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 197 (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

Is contained in

Is retold in

Has the (non-series) sequel

Has the adaptation

Is parodied in

Inspired

Has as a reference guide/companion

Has as a study

Has as a student's study guide

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
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.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the main work for The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (5)

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.
Haiku summary

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)

» see all 51 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.4)
0.5 34
1 246
1.5 33
2 527
2.5 107
3 1290
3.5 226
4 1348
4.5 120
5 709

Audible.com

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

See editions

Penguin Australia

Three editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0142437263, 0143105442, 0141199458

Library of America Paperback Classics

An edition of this book was published by Library of America Paperback Classics.

» Publisher information page

Columbia University Press

An edition of this book was published by Columbia University Press.

» Publisher information page

Urban Romantics

An edition of this book was published by Urban Romantics.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,616,893 books! | Top bar: Always visible