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Excerpt from Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne by Edwin Haviland Miller (courtesy of University of Iowa Press, 1999)

In 1837, with the prodding of [Horatio] Bridge, Nathaniel Hawthorne identified himself for the first time on the title page of Twice-told Tales and formally opened intercourse with the world. Quietly and shyly, as one would expect, he joined the emerging giants of the new literary world. With characteristic modesty he confessed to Longfellow at the time of the publication of his tales: "I do not think much of them--neither is it worth while to be ashamed of them." At the same time he lamented the lack of public interest and asserted that "if my writings had made any decided impression, I should probably have been stimulated to greater exertions." . . . He never mentioned the excitement and gratification he must have felt . . . when he was able to realize his vision and his artistic intention. Even if he destroyed more of his early efforts than he kept, the exhilaration of his successes should have provided some compensation.

Whether Hawthorne recognized it or not--and it is difficult to believe that he was un- aware, although that ambiguous smile of Hooper beneath his black veil may have been his own--by the time he was in his early thirties he had established himself as an artist of the first order and had presented to America some of its greatest tales. . . . (104-105)



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