This volume contains Hawthorne's three highly successful volumes of tales for children, two based on classical myth and one on New England history.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. After graduating from university in 1825, he returned to Salem determined to become a writer and worked on short stories and historical sketches. In 1828 he published the novel Fanshawe at his own expense; it was a failure but led to a productive relationship with publisher Samuel Goodrich. He returned to writing short fiction, then worked for Goodrich as hack writer and editor. Hawthorne became a surveyor of the Boston Custom House in 1839, then left in 1841 to invest in a communal experiment, when he also married. Disappointed in communal life, he moved to Concord, Massachusetts and returned to serious writing in 1846 with Mosses from an Old Manse. After a further three years as a customs surveyor, he finally produced his first significant novel and masterwork, The Scarlet Letter, in 1850, followed by two more major novels and some of his best short stories. In 1853 a college friend became President and Hawthorne was appointed US consul at Liverpool, living in England and Italy for six years. He published a further novel and some essays on England on his return; four unfinished novels and passages from his notebooks were published on his death in 1864.