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Brief Biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne:
Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 - May 19, 1864) was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature.
Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, where his birthplace is now a house museum. Hawthorne's father died at sea in 1808 of yellow fever when Nathaniel was only four years old. Nathaniel was raised, secluded from the world by his mother, in Raymond, Maine on the shores of Sebago Lake. He described this period as the happiest time of his life, but also when he acquired the habit of solitude.
Hawthorne attended Bowdoin College in Maine at the expense of his uncle from 1821-1824, and became friends with classmates Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and future president Franklin Pierce.
Hawthorne became engaged in 1838 to the illustrator and transcendentalist Sophia Peabody. Seeking a possible home for himself and Sophia, he joined the transcendentalist utopian community at Brook Farm in 1841; later that year, however, he left when he became dissatisfied with the experiment. He married Sophia in 1842 and they moved to The Old Manse in Concord, Massachusetts, where they lived for three years. Hawthorne and his wife then moved to The Wayside, previously a home of the Alcotts. Their neighbors in Concord included Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.
The Hawthornes enjoyed a long marriage, and had three children together. Nathaniel Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864 in Plymouth, New Hampshire while on a tour of the White Mountains with former president Franklin Pierce.
Hawthorne is best-known today for his many short stories (he called them "tales") and his four major romances of 1850-1860: The Scarlet Letter (1850), The House of the Seven Gables (1851), The Blithedale Romance (1852), and The Marble Faun (1860).
Hawthorne wrote during the romantic era of writing, which was a European artistic and intellectual movement of the early 19th century. The Romantic Era was characterized by an emphasis on individual freedom from social conventions or political restraints, on human imagination, and on nature in a typically idealized form. Romantic literature rebelled against the formalism of 18th century reason. Many romantic writers had an interest in the culture of the Middle Ages, an age noted for its faith, which stood in contrast to the Age of Enlightenment and pure logic.
For a more complete biography, see Nathaniel Hawthorne on Wikipedia
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