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From Daily Life in Colonial New England by Claudia Durst Johnson, pp. 192-196.

From Salem Is My Dwelling Place by Edwin Haviland Miller, pp. 92-93.

. . . Despite his shy modesty and seeming self-effacement [Hawthorne] had a powerful, narcissistic craving for fame and immortality. The publication of Fanshawe brought him some recognition, but addicted as he was to self-scrutiny as well as to self-portraiture, he himself recognized not long after its appearance that he had fumbled and had not realized his genius or found his voice. He set to work again, and shortly he had ready, according to Elizabeth, a volume called Seven Tales of My Native Land, the title of which came from Wordsworth's "We Are Seven." The manuscript included tales of witchcraft and of the sea, particularly of "pirates and privateers."

When a publisher was reluctant to print the collection, Hawthorne burned the manuscript in a kind of temper tantrum, or so he suggested in "The Devil in Manuscript" (1835). By the end of 1829 he had prepared another collection entitled Provincial Tales that included "The Gentle Boy," "Alice Doane's Appeal," and "My Kinsman, Major Molineux." A few years later, about 1834, Hawthorne gathered a third group of tales and sketches which he planned to call The Story Teller. These grew out of his travels in New England and upper New York with Sam Manning. His model was Washington Irving, whose Sketch Book a decade earlier had made him the first international celebrity among American writers. When Hawthorne found no publisher for this collection, he issued the works piecemeal over a period of years.

We shall never know how many works were burned at various times, whether Hawthorne overstated when he suggested that as many were consigned to the flames as survived, or how extensively he revised those that survived. But the record of publication reveals that between 1830 and 1834 he published from two to four works annually, that in 1835 seventeen tales and sketches were printed, five in the following year, and thirteen in 1837 and again in 1838.

Hawthorne published primarily in three places: the Salem Gazette, the Token, and the New-England Magazine. The Gazette did not pay ordinarily for contributions. Samuel G. Goodrich, founder of the Token, evidently offered $35 for the right to publish "The Gentle Boy," but he admitted to having paid Hawthorne only $108 for the eight contributions that appeared in the Token in 1837. The New-England Magazine usually paid at the rate of a dollar a page, although there may have been special arrangements with certain contributors. Hawthorne, who was an unknown at the time, his pieces unsigned, received only $140 for the fourteen pieces he contributed to the magazine.

Source: Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem Is My Dwelling Place: A Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991.



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