Nathaniel Hawthorne’s (1804–1864) ability to weave worlds of plaintive beauty is somewhat at odds with his family background. His ancestry, which stems back to the Salem witch trials of 1692, contains a bloody, judgmental history used to dramatic effect in his novels and short stories. For Hawthorne, the sins of the father being passed on through subsequent generations was a haunting image, which he believed shadowed his own family.
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