The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XVI. Early National Literature, Part II; Later National Literature, Part I.

XI. Hawthorne

§ 5. Later Romances

His longer romances show a tendency to rework or develop this earlier material, or to draw upon actual scenes and events for their narrative fabric; the controlling problems, however, which the romances deal with are more obviously than in the shorter stories suggested by Transcendental ideas. The Scarlet Letter (1850) is developed from a brief description in Endicott and the Red Cross, one of the Twice Told Tales. In The House of the Seven Gables (1851), Hawthorne makes use of such a curse as was pronounced on his own ancestor, John Hawthorne, or Hathorne, a severe magistrate in witchcraft times. In The Blithedale Romance (1852) it is hard not to identify Hawthorne’s Brook Farm experience, though he warned us against the temptation. The outward details of The Marble Faun (1860) are clearly the observations of his two years in Italy.

Besides the short stories and the romances, Hawthorne wrote several important books for children—the series called Grandfather’s Chair (1841–1842) and the two Wonderbooks (1852–1853). He also edited his friend Bridge’s Journal of an African Cruiser (1845), wrote a campaign life of his friend Pierce (1852), and published some of his notes on England under the title of Our Old Home (1863).