At his death, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804–1864) was universally acknowledged in America and England as "the Great Romancer." Novels such as The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables and stories published in such collections as Twice-Told Tales continue to capture the minds and imaginations of readers and critics to this day. Harder to capture, however, were the character and personality of the man himself. So few of the essays that appeared in the two years after his death offered new insights into his life, art, and reputation that Hawthorne seemed fated to premature obscurity or, at least, permanent misrepresentation. This first collection of personal reminiscences by those who knew Hawthorne intimately or knew about him through reliable secondary sources rescues him from these confusions and provides the real human history behind the successful writer.

Remembrances from Elizabeth Peabody, Sophia Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Rebecca Harding Davis, and twenty others printed in Hawthorne in His Own Time follow him from his childhood in Salem, through his years of initial literary obscurity, his days in the Boston and Salem Custom Houses, his service as U.S. Consul to Liverpool and Manchester and his life in the Anglo-American communities at Rome and Florence, to his late years as the "Great Romancer."

In their enlightening introduction, editors Ronald Bosco and Jillmarie Murphy assess the postmortem building of Hawthorne's reputation as well as his relationship to the prominent Transcendentalists, spiritualists, Swedenborgians, and other personalities of his time. By clarifying the sentimental associations between Hawthorne's writings and his actual personality and moving away from the critical review to the personal narrative, these artful and perceptive reminiscences tell the private and public story of a remarkable life.

"Hawthorne in His Own Time is better than a biography: it provides canny first-hand accounts of an author often considered unknowable, along with key literary assessments of the era, allowing readers to sift through the evidence and form their own judgments. Students, scholars, and lovers of the Great Romancer's work will all find much of value in this collection of gems."—Megan Marshall, author of The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism


Elizabeth Manning Hawthorne, [Reminiscences of My Brother from His Childhood through the 1830s] (1870-1871)

[Lucy Ann Sutton Bradley], [Childhood Encounters with Hawthorne in Salem] (1887)

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, [Epistolary Thoughts on Hawthorne, 1838-1886]

Ralph Waldo Emerson, [Journal Thoughts on Hawthorne, 1838-1864]

[Sophia Amelia Peabody Hawthorne], [First Years of Marriage at the Old Manse, 1842-1845]

[Annie Sawyer Downs], [Reminiscences of a Childhood in Concord in the 1840s] (1891)

[Henry Arthur Bright], [On First Meeting Hawthorne in America, 1852]

Fredrika Bremer, From The Homes of the New World; Impressions of America (1853)

George William Curtis, "Hawthorne" (1853)

[Francis Bennoch], [Vagabondizing with Hawthorne in England in 1856]

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, [My Earliest Memories of Father: Italy, 1858-1859] (1897)

Rebecca Harding Davis, [Memories of the Hawthornes at the Wayside in 1862] (1900)

[Richard Holt Hutton], "Nathaniel Hawthorne" (1864)

Edward Dicey, "Nathaniel Hawthorne" (1864)

Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Hawthorne" (1864)

[James T. Fields], From "Our Whispering Gallery" (1871)

A[mos] Bronson Alcott, From Concord Days (1872)

John S.C. Abbott, "Bowdoin College—Nathaniel Hawthorne" (1875)

George Parsons Lathrop, From A Study of Hawthorne (1876)

Henry James, From Hawthorne (1879)

George B. Loring, "Nathaniel Hawthorne" (1880)

[Franklin B. Sanborn], [A Conversation about Hawthorne at the Concord School of Philosophy in 1880]

Moncure Daniel Conway, "Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne" (1882)

William Dean Howells, "My First Visit to New England" (1894)

Frank Preston Stearns, From Sketches from Concord and Appledore (1895)

Julian Hawthorne, "Hawthorne's Last Years" (1904)

Works Cited

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Publication Details

Publication Date
Pages, art, trim size
320 pages, 5 photos, 6 x 9 inches