Hawthorne: A Life

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$20.00  $18.60
Random House Trade
Publish Date
5.2 X 7.9 X 1.1 inches | 1.0 pounds

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About the Author
Brenda Wineapple is the author of seven books including The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation, selected by a New York Times book critic as one of the ten best nonfiction works of 2019; Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877, a New York Times 'Notable Book'; and White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. A recipient of a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting, and a Pushcart Prize, she has also received three National Endowment Fellowships including its Public Scholars Award. Her essays and reviews regularly appear in The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Book Review, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2023, she was selected a Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.
"Clearly the best biography of Hawthorne; the Hawthorne for our time. Beautifully conceived and written, it conveys the full poignancy and complexity of Hawthorne's life; it makes vivid the times and people and places -- and what a rich array of people and events! A delight to read from start to end."

--Sacvan Bercovitch

"Brenda Wineapple's Hawthorne is, quite literally, an electrifying life. The power and sweep of the writing galvanizes a subject frozen, by earlier biographies, into a series of stills. We understand, finally, a man and artist torn by every conflict of his time, adding a few of his own, a man both strange and strangely familiar. The great achievement of this stunning biography lies in the feat of restoring Hawthorne to the rich and roiling America of his own period, while revealing him, for the first time, as our contemporary."

--Benita Eisler

"With the possible exception of Herman Melville, no one has ever understood the grand tragic Shakespearian nature of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life and work as well as Brenda Wineapple. Her brilliant, powerful, nervy, unsettling and riveting book is authoritatively researched and beautifully written; it has itself the dark mesmeric power of a Hawthorne story. Wineapple's Hawthorne is an intensely private man, compounded of strange depths, mysterious failings, concealments, yearnings and unmistakable incandescent genius."

--Robert D. Richardson

"Brenda Wineapple illuminates Hawthorne's complexities without demystifying the man. He remains one of the most intriguing American writers: dark, guilty, erotic, and psychologically acute - qualities that Wineapple deftly explores."

--Margot Peters

"There is no justice for Hawthorne without the mercy which failed him in life and art. In Wineapple's new dispensation, all the man endured and the art achieved is revealed by loving scruple and, to awful circumstance, condolent response. No biographer since James, no critic since Lawrence has limned so unsparing and therefore so speaking a likeness of our first great fabulist, from which one returns to the works with enlightened wonder. More darkness, more light! Here both abound."

--Richard Howard

"A fine biography...A sensitive reading of Hawthorne's character...Wineapple makes generous use of a cache of family letters that detail the tangle and tussle of wills that Hawthorne had entered as son, brother, lover, and husband, all the while seeking the freedom of spirit to exercise his genius."

--Justin Kaplan, Washington Post

"Meticulously researched and superbly written...captures the novelist in high resolution."

--Peter Campion, San Francisco Chronicle

"A vivid account of a highly interesting life."

--Brooke Allen, New York Times Book Review

"Richly detailed and nuanced; a model of literary biography and an illumination for students of Hawthorne's work...A thoughtful and absorbing life."

--Kirkus (starred)

"A thoroughly engrossing story of a writer's life... written with novelistic grace and flow, with an eye to the telling detail and apt quotation."

--Dan Cryer, New York Newsday

"Wineapple is a splendid stylist and a master of concision. She can capture an entire personality and life in a brief paragraph, ... She can define a complex amatory relationship in a sentence.... Her eloquent hands bring Hawthorne vividly alive for us."

--Jamie Spencer, St. Louis-Post Dispatch