The Scarlet Letter – Second Edition
A Romance
  • Publication Date: October 28, 2004
  • ISBN: 9781551116365 / 1551116367
  • 424 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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The Scarlet Letter – Second Edition

A Romance

  • Publication Date: October 28, 2004
  • ISBN: 9781551116365 / 1551116367
  • 424 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Banner reading Teaching the survey? Learn more about The Broadview Anthology of American Literature, with covers of the available volumes

Hawthorne’s story of the disgraced Hester Prynne (who must wear a scarlet “A” as the mark of her adultery), of her illegitimate child, Pearl, and of the righteous minister Arthur Dimmesdale continues to resonate with modern readers. Set in mid-seventeenth-century Boston, this powerful tale of passion, Puritanism, and revenge is one of the foremost classics of American literature.

This Broadview edition contains a selection of historical documents that include Hawthorne’s writings on Puritanism, the historical sources of the story, and contemporary reviews of the novel. New to the second edition are an updated critical introduction and bibliography and, in the appendices, additional writings by Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Henry James, and William Dean Howells.


“Anyone interested in how novels refract history will be enriched by the Broadview edition of The Scarlet Letter. The valuable introduction and extensive archival material will give readers a great foundation for using Hawthorne’s historicist methodology as a model for discussing the complexities of history and storytelling not only for Hawthorne but for contemporary readers as well.” — Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago

“John Stephen Martin’s meticulously prepared edition of The Scarlet Letter offers both students and general readers the most comprehensive introduction to Hawthorne’s life and work currently available in one volume. With its historical contextualization, enormously helpful annotations, and judicious assessment of Hawthorne’s greatest work, it establishes itself as the single best guide to this great American masterpiece.” — Joel Porte, Cornell University

“This edition is the most effective teaching tool for Hawthorne’s text that I know. Contained within a single volume, students have everything that is necessary for a rich understanding of one of the most important moments in American literary history. Especially donative are the substantial contextualizations provided here—literary, social, and historical—and in turn, these contextualizations ground the principal issues with which Hawthorne’s romance engages. Supplementary to all this is the extensive bibliography, far-ranging and comprehensive. This edition is easily the most comprehensive introduction to the work that is currently available.” — Ian Bell, Keele University

Nathaniel Hawthorne: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text

The Scarlet Letter, A Romance

Appendix A: Hawthorne and Brook Farm (1841)

Appendix B: Hawthorne at Concord (1842–1845): Thoreau, Emerson, Fuller, and Transcendentalism

Appendix C: The Controversy of “The Custom-House” Introduction

Appendix D: Hawthorne’s Preface to the Second Edition

Appendix E: Hawthorne’s Earlier Writings on Puritan History

  1. From “Endicott and the Red Cross” (1838)
  2. From “Main-street” (1849)
  3. From “The Celestial Rail-road” (1843)

Appendix F: Hawthorne’s American Notebooks

Appendix G: Hawthorne’s Ironic Vision

Appendix H: The Development of The Scarlet Letter into a Romance

Appendix I: Imagination and “the Neutral Ground” of Moonlight

Appendix J: Historical Sources for The Scarlet Letter

Appendix K: Contemporary Reviews of The Scarlet Letter

  1. From Anon.,“The New Romance,” Boston Transcript (15 March 1850)
  2. From Anon., Salem Register (21 March 1850)
  3. From Evert A. Duyckinck, “Nathaniel Hawthorne,” The Literary World (30 March 1850)
  4. From George Ripley, New York Tribune Supplement (1 April 1850)
  5. From E.P. Whipple, Graham’s Magazine (May 1850)
  6. From Henry F. Chorley, Athenæum (June 1850)
  7. From Anne W. Abbott, North American Review (July 1850)
  8. From George Bailey Loring, Massachusetts Quarterly Review (September 1850)
  9. From Orestes Brownson, Brownson’s Quarterly Review (October 1850)
  10. From Arthur Cleveland Coxe, “The Writings of Hawthorne,” Church Review (January 1851)
  11. From Henry James, Hawthorne (1879)
  12. From William Dean Howells, Heroines of Fiction (1901)

Appendix L: Illustrations

Works Cited and Recommended Readings

John Stephen Martin is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Calgary.