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Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Twice-Told Tales (original 1837; edition 1989)

by Nathaniel Hawthorne (Author)

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1,28269,844 (3.75)32
The author of such short-fiction masterpieces as Young Goodman Brown and The Minister's Black Veil, Nathaniel Hawthorne is regarded as one of the most significant American writers of the nineteenth century. This volume collects many of his most famous short works and is a fitting compendium of his literary achievements for newcomers or longtime Hawthorne fans alike.… (more)
Title:Twice-Told Tales
Authors:Nathaniel Hawthorne (Author)
Info:Reader's Digest 1989
Collections:Your library

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Twice-Told Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1837)



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As precious a book to me as there is. Each story gently folds back layer by layer revealing a hidden truth or fear or hope or love at it's heart. Though written in the early 1800's, the sense and perspective is not strictly masculine. Hawthorne inhabits and coveys both genders with equal delicacy and strength. Can be read as simple entertainment or left on the tounge to discern deeper flavors than readily apparent. Such a master of the short story form that to write anything longer seems a waste of time...until you read the Scarlet Letter or House of the Seven Gables...both wonderful and conveying the same majesty of narration and smooth drifting prose. Pity if we forget the masters. ( )
  KurtWombat | Sep 15, 2019 |
Many of the stories are very heavy-handed in their messaging, but they are an interesting collection of early Americana. Much of the work has a supernatural bent which surprised me. I liked a few of the stories, but many came across as preachy or moralistic. The ones I liked best exposed hypocrisy -- go figure! ( )
  AliceAnna | Aug 31, 2014 |
Hawthorne wrote this collection of short stories anonymously in the 1830's, first published in local papers. At the urging of a friend he signed his name and raised the money to publish it as a book in two collected volumes, a copy of which was sent to former classmate and famous writer Henry Longfellow at Harvard. Longfellow gave it a favorable review and thus launched Hawthorne out of obscurity and on the path to well known works such as The House of Seven Gables and his masterpiece The Scarlet Letter.

Overall the collection is a mixed bag, some are clearly dated while others have timeless appeal. There are a lot of stories and only a handful will I remember and/or want to re-read in the future so it was a bit of a chore to read through them all. Hawthorne was honing his style so some of the pieces are dead ends, while others echo some of his later better works.

My favorite stories include "The Minister's Black Veil" about a 17th century New England puritan minister who vows never to look at the world except with a black veil over his eyes - the reason why is the mystery of the story and revealed to us at the end. "Wakefield" has a similar theme of mysterious behavior, a man decides to walk away from home without saying he was leaving and then return 10 years later - it is based on a true story and in fact there are modern accounts of similar things happening. "The Gentle Boy" beautifully captures 17th century religious fanaticism, intolerance and historical forces concerning the conflict between Puritans and Quakers in New England. This story is probably his most mature and serious of the book. "Mr. Higginbothem's Catastrophe", about a rumor of a man's murder, is a riddle wrapped in a story, I was perplexed and enthralled to the end. "David Swann", about a young man who falls asleep by the side of the road, is a philosophical story about the nature of fortune and fate. "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment", about a liquid that makes the old young again, presages Robert Louis Stevenson and more recent movies like "Cocoon".

--Review by Stephen Balbach, via CoolReading (c) 2008 cc-by-nd ( )
3 vote Stbalbach | Jun 11, 2008 |
Collection of stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  brose72 | Mar 3, 2007 |
I liked this very much. I'm ging to quote a reviewer, William Wadsworth Longfellow, because he captured my ideas and feelings about this book perfectly.
"Prose Written by a Poet, In the stream of thought, which flows so deep and clear through the pages of this book, we see the bright reflection of a spiritual star...It comes from the hand of a man of genius...The book, though in prose, is written never-the-less by a poet...A calm, thoughtful face seems to be looking at you from every page, with now a pleasant smile, and now a shade of sadness..."
My personal favorite of all the stories is "The Minister's Black Veil." ( )
1 vote MrsLee | Nov 10, 2006 |
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