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Mosses from an Old Manse

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  437 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Mosses from an Old Manse is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s second story collection, first published in 1846 in two volumes and featuring sketches and tales written over a span of more than twenty years, including such classics as “Young Goodman Brown,” “The Birthmark,” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter.” Herman Melville deemed Hawthorne the American Shakespeare, and Henry James wrote that ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 11th 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1857)
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Werner
May 05, 2014 Werner rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century short fiction
Shelves: classics
Though Hawthorne is one of my favorite writers, and this is the first of his books that I ever read, I've never gotten around to reviewing it here until now --an inexcusable lapse that I'm finally rectifying! I've read all of it at least once, and the 1967 date is only approximate; this was a favorite reading staple of my middle and late teens, and I've read several of the pieces here more than once (some as recently as the 90s or later). Some of the stories greatly influenced my youthful imagin ...more
Mark
An early collection of tales. Some of the subtle, almost subliminal problems Hawthorne has with female sexuality (for instance, as metaphorically developed in Rappaccini's Daughter and The Birthmark) are interesting for the light they throw on Hawthorne's attitude toward women, and The Artist of the Beautiful marks an early example of the theme of heart over head that Hawthorne will continue throughout his writing life. As tales, these pieces often don't follow traditional dramatic arcs, which c ...more
Jefferson
Mosses from an Old Manse (1846/1854) is a collection of 26 tales and sketches by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne's imagination, insight into human nature, elegant and clear style, quiet humor, lack of sentimentality, empathy with human sin and suffering, and range of genres are all impressive. His pieces here include overt allegories, fanciful dreams, vivid sketches, explorations of the artistic spirit, investigations of "the gloomy mysteries of the human heart," proto science fiction, psychologi ...more
Norman Cook
The first edition was published in 1846 with 23 stories, and later expanded to 26 stories in 1854. This edition reprints 11 of them. Most of the stories are allegorical and depict some of the darker aspects of human nature. The stories don’t hold up particularly well for modern readers, being somewhat wordy and not especially sophisticated. My brief comments about each story follow.
• “The Birthmark” (1843) • A scientist endeavors to remove his wife’s birthmark and discovers that Nature is often
...more
Nikki
Also for my SF/F class, also stultifyingly boring. There's something a bit more alive about Hawthorne's prose than Poe's, I think, but once you've read a couple of stories, they all seem to sound the same. I got to the point where I was skimming in self-defence.
Lissa Notreallywolf
This is an anthology of short stories some of them familiar from freshman english classes. I enjoyed revisiting Young Goodman Brown, Rappuccini's Daughter, and most of all the horrifying Tale The Birthmark, where a husband dwells upon his wife's hand-shaped facial marking until she feels the force of his contempt to the point of voluntarily undergoing his experimentation. In the end she is cured of her marking, but also of drawing breath on this mortal plane. I have to say that enjoyed The New A ...more
Syahira Sharif
"Mosses from an Old Manse and other stories" is a collection of short stories published separately under the author's name. It consisted of "The Birthmark", "Young Goodman Brown", "Rappaccini's Daughter", "Mrs. Bullfrog", "The Celestial Railroad", "The Procession of Life", "Feathertop: A Moralized Legend", Egotism; or The Bosom Serpent", "Drowne's Wooden Image", "Roger Malvin's Burial" and "The Artist of the Beautiful". The collection is freely available from Gutenberg Project and other sites.

De
...more
John Lucy
Hawthorne rocks the world. Unfortunately he is greatly misunderstood. We read him in school, oftentimes, through the lens of The Scarlet Letter, which is usually taught all wrong. Hawthorne, like The Scarlet Letter, is usually presented by teachers as a critic of his time and culture. If that's all that Hawthorne is good for then by all means we should grow up disliking him. But I'm telling you, people, that he is good for so much more. Read my review of The House of the Seven Gables for a more ...more
Debbie
I should say first that I am not a big fan of short stories. I generally find them somewhat frustrating and incomplete. However, I am finding that, particularly when trying to read authors I don't particularly like, I can appreciate them much more. Hawthorne, for instance. I tried reading The House of Seven Gables over 10 years ago, and got bored and gave up within the first 50 pages. His layers upon layers of description and background were just too much for my teenage brain to wade through. I ...more
Sara
I really wanted to love this book. I toured the Old Manse in Concord, MA this past summer and began learning more about Massachusetts' transcendentalists and friends, finding their philosophies and biographies intriguing. I also was aware of Hawthorne's reputation as a literary "relative" of Edgar Allen Poe. But with the exception of his fantastic and more essay-like entries ("The Old Manse" and "Fire Worship"), few of Hawthorne's tales rise above heavy-handed allegory. The ones that do (famousl ...more
Valerie
Stories with artistry

Some of the stories are class is gothic horror and others have a more philosophical bent, but all are written so well as to paint a picture as you read them. Fabulous that this is public domain. Everyone should read stories like this once in a while.
Courtney
Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Tales and Sketches

In compilation only.

1) The Old Manse
2) The Birth-Mark
3) A Select Party
4) Young Goodman Brown
5) Rappaccini's Daughter
6) Mrs. Bullfrog
7) Fire-Worship
8) Buds and Bird-Voices
9) Monsieur du Miroir
10) The Hall of Fantasy
11) The Celestial Rail-Road
12) The Procession of Life
13) Feathertop
14) The New Adam and Eve
15) Egotism; or, The Bosom-Serpent
16) The Christmas Banquet
17) Drowne's Wooden Image
18) The Intelligence Office
19) Roger Malvin's Burial
20) P.'s Corresponden
...more
Hal
The stories with actual plots are excellent - spooky and imaginative. The social commentaries are kind of boring. And the essays about nature and such are all right.
Carola
I tried but I just can't get into it. Read a few stories but felt they were quite... boring... So I'm giving up. Perhaps I was unlucky in my choices so I might give some of his other work a try in the future.
Kanta
What a boring title. What an amazing stories.
Sara
"Egotism; or, The Bosom-Serpent" is my favorite out of any of Hawthorne's short stories, but "The Birthmark" and "Rappaccini's Daughter" are also excellent examples of Hawthorne's mastery of symbolism and allegory. I'm a true fan of Hawthorne's style and his writing. These stories and Hawthorne in general helped to shape and cement my appreciation for great literature versus just reading for sheer pleasure. However, I have to say that more so than some other classics, Hawthorne IS a sheer pleasu ...more
Rand
When a book's ear follows H and its heart grows a thorn it becomes a hearth.
When proses coil around its framework it becomes as these Mosses.
Alastair Arthur
I must admit that I struggled with the language on a number of occasions and that did make the stories hard work. There are some good elements in each of the stories. I particularly liked the science aspect in Birthmark and Rappaccini's Daughter. They are certainly good short stories but left me wanting more depth of character or something to shock or surprise me, perhaps fuelled by modern trends in short stories and films.
Elazar
This is my first book by Hawthorne (better late than never, I guess) and I am surprised by how much I like his writing style and the topics of his short stories. This was a reading assignment in the one of the MOOCs that I am currently taken on Coursera (Fantasy and Science Fiction). Excellent course, by the way... I will probably read some of Hawthorne's other books now, starting wit the Scarlet Letter.
Anna Serra i Vidal
To me, a bit more complex than Poe, they share some themes and ways of exploring them.
Even though I was reading this book for the Cousera Fantasy and Science Fiction course, I found it hard to get into it. Didn't really like Young Goodman Brown or The Birthmark, but got very interested once I read Rapaccini's Daughter. That was my mind changer and realized I was reading a great writer.
Maria
This is a very strange book. Puritanical mixed with fantasy mixed with a great writer who is working within the limits of his time. Hawthorne was a huge influence on Melville, which is interesting to think about, since Moby Dick is so much more modern. Interesting to watch how the generations take from each other, what they offer, what passes and what lasts.
Sophie Lagace
Trying again to read Hawthorne for the Coursera SF/F class, I got much more interested in his writing than I had long ago when I was young. I guess I’ve grown up despite my best efforts! Like many others on the class forum, I particularly enjoyed the tale “Rappaccini’s Daughter”, an interesting reversal of the Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel.”
Seawood
Read for Coursera: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

May not be exact edition

Read for course:
The Birthmark
Rappacini's Daughter
The Artist of the Beautiful

You do need to concentrate on these because of the language but they are rewardingly creepy once you get stuck in.
Jamie
Hawthorne is a beautiful and engaging writer. This collection is a little more intellectual than Twice Told Tales. The wisdom in his little asides is penetrating. I enjoyed these tales though short stories leave me a bit unsatisfied as there is a different purpose than to merely entertain.
Nandini
There are some truly excellent stories such as 'The Birthmark', Rapaccini's Daughter' and 'Feathertop' and 'The Artist of the Beautiful'. On the other hand, there are some terrible moralizing stories, which made me want to skim through them as quickly as possible.
Ashlee Draper Galyean
A really interesting and different outlook is to be discovered from his writings. When you consider the time period he's writing from it's fascinating to see his opinions compared to the transcendentalist doctrine that was prevalent around him at the time.
Rashmi
Read it for the 'Fantasy and Science Fiction' course at Coursera. I wish I had read these in my college days!

Stories read-

1) "The Birthmark,"
2) "Rappaccini's Daughter,"
3) "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment,"
4) "The Artist of the Beautiful"
Dee Crabtree
Bleh. This is not Hawthorne's most intriguing work. I bought it at The Old Manse gift shop, where they stamped it with their imprint, which makes it a little more special. It is definitely worth visting the house and buying his work there, though.
Michele
Was not a fan of his writing, but found myself appreciating the stories after as I continued to think about them.
I particularly liked 'The Birthmark' which to me says that perfection is simply unattainable.
BCS
Small format hard cover, somewhat beaten and worn. Pages are discolored and intact. Salem Edition. Boston and New York. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1893
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Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation's colonial history.

Shortly after graduating from Bowdoin College, Hathorne changed his name to Hawthorne. Hawthorne anonymously published his first work, a novel titled Fanshawe, in 1828. In 1837, he published Twice-Told T
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More about Nathaniel Hawthorne...
The Scarlet Letter The House of the Seven Gables Young Goodman Brown and Other Short Stories Young Goodman Brown The Minister's Black Veil

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“A kind Providence has so skilfully adapted sex to sex and the mass of individuals to each other, that, with certain obvious exceptions, any male and female may be moderately happy in the married state.” 0 likes
“Ought a woman to disclose her frailties earlier than the wedding day? Few husbands, I assure you, make the discovery in such good season, and still fewer complain that these trifles are concealed too long. Well, what a strange man you are! Poh! you are joking.” 0 likes
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