Belonging to America’s dark Romanticists, Hawthorne is well-known for his Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables but also wrote quite popular short stories. Hawthorne was originally spelled without the w but he added it probably to dissociate himself from the family image because his great-great-grandfather was a judge in the Salem witch trials.
Otherwise, he must have had a quite fulfilling life, happy childhood in Maine, a happy marriage with three children, a political and a great writing career even during his lifetime, Herman Melville looked up to him and he was best friends with US President Franklin Pierce whom he during his college years.
I must admit, I’ve only read his short story “Rappaccini’s Daughter” so far but I loved it very much and a collection of short stories as well as The Scarlet Letter are already on my TBR pile. I actually found an edition of The Scarlet Letter in one of these free libraries sometimes installed in old bookcases or shelves or telephone booths. Its cover takes some getting used to because it looks like it unhappily time-traveled here from the nineties but once embraced, it’s actually quite fun to look at the colourful tohubohu.
If you’re uncertain whether this is your genre or style of writing, have a go at one of the short stories, you can find them for free online at americanliterature.com, I think it might be worth it!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Hawthorne old man!