Jun 16, 2022 - Sale 2609

Sale 2609 - Lot 234

Price Realized: $ 3,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
ON THE POSSIBILITY OF WRITING ANOTHER "SCARLET LETTER" HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL. Autograph Letter Signed, "Nath'l Hawthorne," to journalist Samuel Lucas, reporting that he read his article on "the Fathers of New England," declining to do any literary work until he returns home, and listing the limitations that would prevent him from writing another "Puritan Story." 2 pages, 8vo, written on a folded sheet; second page backed, tears with minor loss to upper and right edges of second page, faint scattered dampstaining touching signature. Leamington, 15 November 1859

Additional Details

". . . I have read the article on the Fathers of New England, and recognize your qualification to speak with authority on my attempts to depict their characters and times.
"My mind, at this time, is not in a productive state; for I have worked it very hard and continuously during two or three months past, and I promised myself to be idle during the rest of my stay in England. I enjoy my residence here so much . . . that I wish to defer all literary toil and other business of life till my return home.
"Your acquaintance with New England history will have suggested to you, I think, that it affords very little variety of subject for the romance-writer. Taking into view its limitations of accident, character, and colouring, and likewise the limitations of my own faculty, I doubt whether I could find the theme for another Puritan Story."
This letter is published as 1049 in The Letters, 1857-1864, ed. Woodson, Rubino, Smith, Pearson, The Centenary Edition of the Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Vol. 15 (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1987), 198.
The article Hawthorne read is the group of reviews by Samuel Lucas collectively entitled, "The Fathers of New England" in The Edinburgh Review 102, no. 208 (October 1855): 542-572.