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The Intelligence Office (From "Mosses from an Old Manse")   By: (1804-1864)

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Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Intelligence Office," a collection of short stories from his renowned work "Mosses from an Old Manse," offers readers a fascinating glimpse into the intricacies of human nature and the power of perception.

Throughout this collection, Hawthorne explores the theme of intelligence and its consequences, delving into the secrets and mysteries that lie beneath the surface of everyday life. The stories within "The Intelligence Office" present readers with characters who possess unconventional abilities to perceive the world around them, making them keen observers of human behavior.

One of the standout stories in this collection is "The Intelligence Office" itself, which focuses on an eccentric genius who opens an office, through which he assists people in achieving their desires. Through the character of Manasseh, Hawthorne deftly examines the complexities of human desires and the unforeseen consequences that come with their fulfillment.

In "The Intelligence Office," Hawthorne's prose shines as he masterfully weaves intricate tales filled with psychological nuance. His writing style is richly evocative and filled with poignant descriptions, allowing readers to vividly imagine the scenes and characters he portrays. Hawthorne's use of metaphors and symbolism adds a layer of depth to the stories, inviting readers to engage with underlying themes and the inherent complexities of human existence.

Moreover, "The Intelligence Office" demonstrates Hawthorne's keen understanding of the human psyche. He skillfully explores the darker facets of human nature and the moral dilemmas individuals face when confronted with their true desires. Through the characters' experiences, readers are forced to reflect on the consequences of their own actions, highlighting the impact of selfishness, greed, and the pursuit of power.

While this collection presents a diverse range of narratives, "The Intelligence Office" stands out as a particularly intriguing and thought-provoking read. Hawthorne's exploration of intelligence and its implications challenges readers to question their own perceptions and motivations, ultimately leaving them with a deeper understanding of human existence.

In conclusion, "The Intelligence Office" is an exceptional collection of short stories that showcases Nathaniel Hawthorne's mastery of storytelling. With his evocative prose and astute observations of human nature, Hawthorne provides readers with a captivating and thought-provoking read. From start to finish, this collection not only entertains but also leaves readers contemplating the moral dilemmas and complexities of the human experience.

First Page:


By Nathaniel Hawthorne


Grave figure, with a pair of mysterious spectacles on his nose and a pen behind his ear, was seated at a desk in the corner of a metropolitan office. The apartment was fitted up with a counter, and furnished with an oaken cabinet and a Chair or two, in simple and business like style. Around the walls were stuck advertisements of articles lost, or articles wanted, or articles to be disposed of; in one or another of which classes were comprehended nearly all the Conveniences, or otherwise, that the imagination of man has contrived. The interior of the room was thrown into shadow, partly by the tall edifices that rose on the opposite side of the street, and partly by the immense show bills of blue and crimson paper that were expanded over each of the three windows. Undisturbed by the tramp of feet, the rattle of wheels, the hump of voices, the shout of the city crier, the scream of the newsboys, and other tokens of the multitudinous life that surged along in front of the office, the figure at the desk pored diligently over a folio volume, of ledger like size and aspect, He looked like the spirit of a record the soul of his own great volume made visible in mortal shape... Continue reading book >>

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