Nathaniel Hawthorne is one of America's most noted and highly praised writers, and a key figure in US literature. Although, he struggled to become an acknowledged author for most parts of his life, his work "stands in the limelight of the American literary consciousness" (Graham 5).For he is a direct descendant of Massachusetts Bay colonists in the Puritan era of the 17th and 18th century, New England served as a lifelong preoccupation for Hawthorne, and inspired many of his best-known stories. Hence, in order to understand the author and his work, it is crucial to apprehend the historical background from which his stories arose. The awareness of the Puritan legacy in Hawthorne's time, and their Calvinist beliefs which contributed to the establishment of American identity, serve as a basis for fathoming the intention behind Hawthorne's writings.
One of 51 titles in the Major Literary Characters series which collate criticism from various sources, and which seek to place the analysis of characters back at the centre of literary study. This title in the 18th and 19th century section focuses on Nathaniel Hawthorne's Hester Prynne.
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