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“McFarland’s book takes the prize for readability. His is an impressionistic account that could only result from sensitivity and empathy for its subject.” David Locker, Evansville Courier & Press
Hawthorne in Concord
978-0-8021-4205-4 • $16.00 • Paperback • July 2005
To coincide with the bicentennial of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birth, this illuminating biography captures pivotal periods in the fascinating life of one of our most beloved authors
Acclaimed historian Philip McFarland illuminates three distinct periods when Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in the bucolic village of Concord, Massachusetts.
On his wedding day in 1842, the author escorts his new wife, Sophia, to their first home, the Old Manse. There, enriched by friendships with Thoreau and Emerson, he enjoys an idyllic time. But three years later, unable to make enough money from his writing, he returns ingloriously, with his wife and infant daughter, to live in his mother’s home in Salem.
In 1853 Hawthorne moves back to Concord, now the renowned author of The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Eager to resume writing fiction at the scene of his earlier happiness, he assembles a biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce, who is running for president. When Pierce wins the election, Hawthorne is appointed the lucrative post of consul in Liverpool.
Coming home from Europe in 1860, as America hovers on the verge of civil war, Hawthorne settles down in Concord once more, a town brimming with abolitionist sentiment. He tries to take up writing one last time, but deteriorating health finds him withdrawing into private life. In Hawthorne in Concord, McFarland “paints a selective, complex, and ultimately enriching portrait of America’s earliest psychological novelist in his middle years” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Published on the bicentennial of Hawthorne’s birth, July 4, 2004.