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"Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) was born at Salem in Massachusetts to one of New England's oldest Puritan familes. He read extensively and was entered for Bowdoin College in Maine in 1821. While he was here he began writing Fanshawe, an immature novel whose hero resembles the author.
"After his graduation in 1825 Hawthorne returned to Salem where he began writing historical sketches. In 1828 he published Fanshawe anonymously, but later regretted the decision. The novel went largely unnoticed.
"His fortunes began to improve in 1837 with the publication of Twice-Told Tales which sold over a thousand copies in the first twelve months. In the same year he also fell in love with Sophia Peabody whom he later married. He was not able to earn his living by writing alone and so accepted a position in the Boston Custom House in January 1839 and later as Surveyor for the District of Salem, from which he was dismissed in 1849. This led to a period of hardship for Hawthorne and his family but with the warm reception of The Scarlet Letter in 1850, he was able to move his family to their own home.
"Two more romances, The House of the Seven Gables (1851) and The Blithedale Romance (1852) followed and he became established as a major writer of the day. In 1853 he became the American consul at Liverpool and set sail for England with his family. He returned to Massachusetts in 1860 where he continued writing until his death in 1864. Several unfinished romances were published posthumously."
Source: Penguin Web Site (http://www.futurenet.co.uk/Penguin/Authors/251.html). Accessed 10 June 1997.
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Portrait by George P.A. Healy, 1853. (Source: James O'Donald Mays. Mr. Hawthorne Goes to England: The Adventures of a Reluctant Consul. Burley, England: New Forest Leaves, 1983. Page 2. PS 1881 M38 1983 ROBA.)
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