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"The House of the Seven Gables" was published in 1851. The scene is laid "half-way down a by-street of one of our New England towns" in "a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely-peaked gables, facing toward various points of tho compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst." Hepzibah Pyncheon is an ancient maiden lady, well-meaning, but wearing a continual scowl, which repelled every one. Her brother Clifford is the victim of a great injustice which all his life overshadows him. In contrast with him, we have the smiling, smooth-spoken, popular Judge Pyncheon, prosperous in his life and tragical in his death. Among the more pleasing and cheerful characters of the story, we have little Ned Higgins, the insatiable devourer of gingerbread animals; bright-eyed, cheery, industrious little Phoebe Pyncheon; and the good-natured, garrulous old Uncle Venuer, claiming the poor-house as his farm, to which he intends some day to retire, but his plans share the fate of many greater expectations, and he never reaches his quiet retreat:

"And it's no bad place, neither, that farm of mine," cried the old man, cheerily, as if there was something positively delightful in the prospect; "no bad place is the old brick farm-house, especially for them that will find a good many old cronies there, as will be my case. I quite long to be among them, sometimes, of the winter evenings; for it is but dull business for a lonesome elderly man, like me, to be nodding by the hour together, with no company but his air-tight stove. Summer or winter, there's a great deal to be said in favor of my farm! And, take it in the autumn, what can be pleasanter, than to spend a whole day on the sunny side of a barn or wood-pile, chatting with somebody as old as one's self; or, perhaps, idling away the time with a natural-born simpleton, who knows how to be idle, because even our busy Yankees never have found out how to put him to any use? Upon my word, I doubt whether I've ever been so comfortable as I mean to be at my farm, which most folks call the work-house."

In this book common-place materials are wrought into a very effective story. The dimness of romance here almost fades into the "light of common day." The moral is a very useful one, "the truth, namely, that the wrong-doing of one generation lives into the succeeding ones, and divesting itself of every temporary advantage becomes a pure and uncontrollable mischief." We are taught "the folly of tumbling down an avalanche of ill-gotten gold or real estate on the heads of an unfortunate posterity, thereby to maim and crush them until the accumulated mass shall be scattered abroad in its original atoms."


* 12 captioned illustrations by Maude and Genevieve Cowles.
* All the page decorations from the Houghton Mifflin edition of 1899 have been included.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940015811483
Publisher: OGB
Publication date: 12/02/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

One of the greatest authors in American literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a novelist and short story writer born in Salem, Massachusetts. Hawthorne’s best-known books include The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter, works marked by a psychological depth and moral insight seldom equaled by other writers.

Date of Birth:

July 4, 1804

Date of Death:

May 19, 1864

Place of Birth:

Salem, Massachusetts

Place of Death:

Plymouth, New Hampshire


Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, 1824

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