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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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The Scarlet Letter (original 1850; edition 1961)

by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Maxwell Geismar (Afterword)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
22,45024456 (3.39)1 / 686
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)

  1. 132
    The Crucible by Arthur Miller (SandSing7, Morteana)
  2. 102
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (chrisharpe)
  3. 30
    Elective Affinities by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (LCBrooks)
    LCBrooks: Allows for interesting comparisons on the subject of double marriage.
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    Too Late The Phalarope by Alan Paton (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Sex and guilt in Calvinist cultures.
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    The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy (chrisharpe, kxlly)
  6. 10
    Elsie Venner A Romance of Destiny, Part One by Oliver Wendell Holmes (Midnightdreary)
    Midnightdreary: Similar exploration of the question of sin, inherited or otherwise.
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English (235)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (245)
Showing 1-5 of 235 (next | show all)
A classic tale. Hester Prynne, accused by her community for adultery. Bearing a child, is a pariah of her community.

I really don't know if there is much I can add to this story that hasn't already been said about it. It is a must read. It should be on everyone's bookshelf. What amazes me most about this book is that even back then Nathaniel Hawthorne showed the injustic of the double standard. Where women are treated as the chattel they were and men literary got away with murder when it comes to women. I also love the fact how the author points out that some men are just scum above and beyond how they treat women.

This book is and will always be a classic for me. It is one of my favorites. I highly recommend it to be on everyone's bookshelf! ( )
  DVerdecia | Jan 29, 2016 |
Another character sketch more than action novel, but much more human than Billy Budd. While Billy Budd seemed contrived to make one feel sorrow over his death, The Scarlet Letter exposes the psychological damage that guilt, revenge, and sin have on a person. Hawthorne exposes the inner workings of men's souls as an example to us of how our choices effect not only us but those around us, and how ultimately, our choices lead us, despite God's sovereignty, toward an end. That does not mean, however, that God can not and does not have his way, as is clearly seen, for instance, in Jacob's life—and Pearl's. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 22, 2016 |
Another character sketch more than action novel, but much more human than Billy Budd. While Billy Budd seemed contrived to make one feel sorrow over his death, The Scarlet Letter exposes the psychological damage that guilt, revenge, and sin have on a person. Hawthorne exposes the inner workings of men's souls as an example to us of how our choices effect not only us but those around us, and how ultimately, our choices lead us, despite God's sovereignty, toward an end. That does not mean, however, that God can not and does not have his way, as is clearly seen, for instance, in Jacob's life—and Pearl's. ( )
  memlhd | Jan 22, 2016 |
After a very slow beginning, I really enjoyed this novel. There is a lot to it beyond the surface, but I can see why so many teens don't care for it. ( )
  Karin7 | Jan 20, 2016 |
This was a re-read for me as I read this when I was in high school. I think I enjoyed it even more the second time around. Although a little outdated for today's teenagers, the book is a good look at what it was like living in the 1600's and having to adhere to their moral codes. It is a deeply emotional book with lots of symbolism and does show that bad decisions do have consequences. I do highly recommend the book as it is one story that is very hard to forget. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 235 (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
Hawthorne, Nathanielprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baym, NinaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Coetzee, J. M.Introductionsecondary 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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:14 -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 54 descriptions

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40 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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Editions: 1400100607, 1400108551

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