Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables is a classic of American literature, written by one of the country's greatest writers. First published in 1851, the book is set in a mansion not unlike his cousin's many-gabled home in Salem, Massachusetts, which Hawthorne visited regularly. Caroline O. Emmerton's introductory note to this 1913 edition details the history of the house, from its construction circa 1668 to its purchase and restoration by Emmerton in the early 1900's. Emmerton founded the House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association in 1910, to serve the growing population of immigrant factory workers flocking to Salem. To help fund the Settlement House, the mansion opened its doors to the public as a museum, also in 1910. This edition is illustrated with 16 photographs of interior and exterior views of the house.
Gr 9 UpHawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem. More than 200 years later, we meet the family in its decaying, gabled mansion, still haunted by the presence of dead ancestors: Hepzibah, an elderly gentlewoman fallen on had times; her ineffectual brother, Clifford; and young Phoebe, a country maiden who cheerfully takes it upon herself to care for her two doddering relations. There's also Holgrave, a free-spirited daguerreotypist, who makes a surprising transformation into conventional respectability at the story's end. These people seem to be symbols for Hawthorne's theme more than full-bodied characters in their own right. As such, it can only be difficult for today's young adults to identify with them, especially since they are so caught up in a past that is all but unknown to present day sensibilities. Talented Joan Allen, twice nominated for Academy Awards, reads the tale in a clear, luminous voice. Because she has chosen not to do voices, however, it is sometimes difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, she is more than equal to the task of handling Hawthorne's stately prose in a presentation that will be a good curriculum support for students of Hawthorne or those seeking special insight into this work of fiction.Carol Katz, Harrison Library, NY