Hawthorne’s Labors In Concord Chapter uri icon

abstract

  • © Cambridge University Press 2004. Nathaniel Hawthorne spent three periods of his life in Concord, Massachusetts among a group of friends and neighbors called Transcendentalists. He and his wife Sophia first moved to Concord on 9 July 1842, the day of their wedding, and stayed more than three years at the Old Manse until October 1845, when they moved to Salem. These years are often described by biographers as idyllic, a long honeymoon in Paradise. Hawthorne cultivated this impression through his letters, notebooks, “The Old Manse” sketch, and stories such as “The New Adam and Eve.” He left Concord in desperate financial straits, but after living in Salem, Lenox, and West Newton, Hawthorne returned to Concord as the famous author of The Scarlet Letter (1850) and The House of the Seven Gables (1851), and from May 1852 to July 1853, he lived in a house on the east side of town purchased from the Alcotts, which they called The Hillside and he renamed The Wayside. In 1860, after spending seven years abroad in England and Italy, Hawthorne returned to Concord and The Wayside once more, where he lived until his death in May 1864. He chose not to die there among his family, however, going instead on a trip with his friend Franklin Pierce, who was with him during his final hours in a New Hampshire inn where they had stopped for the night. In The Blithedale Romance (1852), Hawthorne, in the voice of his narrator Coverdale speaking of Hollingsworth, anticipated this end when he declared “Happy the man that has such a friend beside him, when he comes to die! … How many men, I wonder, does one meet with, in a lifetime, whom he would choose for his death-bed companions!” (iii: 39).

author list (cited authors)

  • Reynolds, L. J.

citation count

  • 2

editor list (cited editors)

  • Millington, R. H.

Book Title

  • The Cambridge Companion to Nathaniel Hawthorne

publication date

  • September 2004