The Scarlet Letter
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Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne's concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Arthur Dimmesdale stands as a classic study of a seld divided; trapped by the rules of society, he suppresses his passion and disavows his lover, Hester, and their daughter, Pearl. As Nina Baym writes in her Introduction, "The Scarlet Letter"was not written as realistic, historical fiction, but as a "romance," a creation of the imagination that discloses the truth of the human heart.
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Penguin Books, 9780142437261, 272pp.
Publication Date: December 31, 2002
About the Author
Nina Baym is the director of the School of Humanities and professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Thomas E. Connolly (1918 2002) was a literary critic and professor of English at the University of Buffalo, where he served as chair of the UB faculty senate. Connolly s critical essays appeared widely in scholarly journals, and he wrote and edited several books on the works of James Joyce and Nathaniel Hawthorne."