Nathaniel Hawthorne was born at Salem, Mass., on July 4th, 1804. He led a shy and rather somber life with little encouragement to write, yet not wholly uncongenial in view of his temperament. His life is reflected in his "Twice-Told Tales" and other short stories, the product of his first literary period. In these stories, his understanding of men and women was displayed with great subtlety.
He was forty-six years old when "The Scarlet Letter" appeared. It is considered his best work, and is a good demonstration of his unique and imaginative mind. In 1850, the year "The Scarlet Letter" appeared, he began "The House of the Seven Gables," a later romance or prose-tragedy of the Puritan-America as he knew it - missing art and the joy of life.