Mosses from an Old Manse
By: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
"Mosses from an Old Manse" is a short story collection by Nathaniel Hawthorne, first published in 1846. The collection includes several previously-published short stories and is named in honor of The Old Manse where Hawthorne and his wife lived for the first three years of their marriage. A second edition was published in 1854, which added "Feathertop," "Passages from a Relinquished Work, and "Sketches from Memory."
Many of the tales collected in "Mosses from an Old Manse" are allegories and, typical of Hawthorne, focus on the negative side of human nature. Hawthorne's friend Herman Melville noted this aspect in his review "Hawthorne and His Mosses": "This black conceit pervades him through and through. You may be witched by his sunlight, transported by the bright gildings in the skies he builds over you; but there is the blackness of darkness beyond; and even his bright gildings but fringe and play upon the edges of thunder-clouds." William Henry Channing reviewed the collection in The Harbinger and noted that its author "had been baptized in the deep waters of Tragedy" and his work was dark with only brief moments of "serene brightness" which was never brighter than "dusky twilight". (
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