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Mosses from an Old Manse

Mosses from an Old Manse by Nathaniel Hawthorne
By: (1804-1864)

Mosses from an Old Manse is a collection of short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne that delves into the complexities of human nature and explores themes of sin, guilt, and redemption.

Hawthorne's writing is beautifully descriptive and vivid, enveloping readers in a world of lush landscapes and haunting atmospheres. Each story offers a unique insight into the inner workings of the human psyche, often revealing the darker, more hidden aspects of our souls.

One of the standout stories in the collection is "The Birth-Mark," which follows the tragic tale of a scientist who becomes obsessed with removing a small birthmark from his wife's cheek. The story serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of perfectionism and the consequences of trying to alter nature.

Overall, Mosses from an Old Manse is a thought-provoking and engaging read that showcases Hawthorne's mastery of the short story form. Readers who enjoy dark, introspective fiction will find much to appreciate in this collection.

Book Description:
"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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