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The House of the Seven Gables

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  25,413 Ratings  ·  1,417 Reviews
This 1851 classic about an ancient New England mansion, its inhabitants, and curses reflects Hawthorne's recurring theme of ancestral guilt because of his forebears' involvement in the 17th century Salem witch trials.
Paperback, 282 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by BiblioBazaar (first published 1851)
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Aug 17, 2009 Kim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultured, meh-at-you

Why the hell did I pick this up again? Life's too short, you say? You have 200+ other books on your 'to read' shelf and this was sucking your will to read? Give it up! You're right... all of it... and my answer is... my excuse being... because I'm freakin' stubborn. Its Hawthorne . I mean how much more New Englandy can you get? I couldn't just--- give up... I'd be betraying my countryman...


For a few years, in my younger days, I worked down the street from the House o
Aug 02, 2013 Werner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century classics
Shelves: classics, books-i-own
During the Salem witch hysteria of 1692, when real-life accused witch Sarah Good was about to hanged, she pointed at one of the witch hunters, Rev. Nathaniel Noyes, who was looking on approvingly, and shouted, "I'm no more a witch than you are, and if you murder me, God will give you blood to drink!" (an allusion to Revelation 16:6). Years later, Noyes suffered a throat aneurism, and did die literally drinking his own blood --a fact that wasn't lost on the keepers of New England's traditions.

Alan Fay
Dec 04, 2008 Alan Fay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
This is the worst book ever written in the English language that is somehow celebrated against far superior novels from the same era, somehow earning him enough respect to have his crusty face emblazoned onto the Library of Congress.

If the story were to take place in modern day Atlanta, it would be about some inbred, old money steel magnolia losing her shit up in Buckhead, and dragging her family down with her while she squanders what little remains of their inheritance on palm readers and telem
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
A clueless group here in made this this its book of the month read under the "Horror" genre when there is no horror in it. The author called it, instead, a "Romance" but there is no romance in it, either, except a brief declaration of love for each other of two protagonists towards the end with all its unmistakable phoniness ("How can you love a simple girl like me?" Duh, all men profess to love simple girls!).

This is actually a sex book written under the atmosphere of sexual repre
Henry Avila
The Pyncheon family had a long and useful reign.The founder Col.Pyncheon, was a stout Puritan and soldier.Who helped wipe out the evil threat of the witches. In the Salem trials of 1692.For his reward, he happened to take over the property of old Matthew Maule. A good place for the Colonel's new mansion. For his noble efforts .The Wizard Maule .Met his just end, at Gallows Hill. The House of the Seven Gables. Was one of the best edifices in colonial Massachusetts. But more than 150 years later, ...more
Jr Bacdayan
… for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation… Exodus 20:5

It has always been a wonder for me why punishment should be as such. Why is this idea of making descendants suffer for their forefather’s mistakes so recurring in literature? Including this passage from the bible, there are countless other works which involve this sad practice; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The House of Seven Gables is one of the more renowned ca
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 31, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
An old US colloquial house with seven gables that seem to be mocking heaven. Seven main characters. The old ugly Hepzibah Pyncheon running a candy shop to earn a living for herself and her war-torn brother Clifford Pyncheon. Her face is ugly because she has to squint to see. She needs to wear eye-glasses but she is so poor that she cannot afford to have one. So customers are few except the young adorable boy Ned Higgins who loves gingerbread cookies that he comes back again and again to the cand ...more
Evripidis Gous.
Apr 19, 2016 Evripidis Gous. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Το πιο ανάλαφρο και ευχάριστο βιβλίο για το 2016 μέχρι στιγμής!

Εξαιρετική ιστορία, όμορφη γλώσσα, ενδιαφέρον χαρακτήρες και ο μαγικός τρόπος όπου ο συγγραφέας σε μεταφέρει σαν αόρατο παρατηρητή στα δωμάτια του σπιτιού με τα εφτά αετώματα, συνθέτουν ένα εξαιρετικό ανάγνωσμα. Ότι πρέπει για χαλάρωση ύστερα από μια κουραστική ημέρα. Ανυπομονώ να διαβάσω και άλλα έργα του συγγραφέα :)
Mar 27, 2008 Joe rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad you're dead, Nathaniel Hawthorne.

So this is a classic horror novel in which nothing at all happens for a few hundred pages except the description of some house, an old hag selling oatmeal, and some guy who may or may not have hypnotized the other chick who's boarding there. There might be something scary but I was too busy falling asleep to notice. If Hawthorne were alive, he'd be a zombie, which I'd totally be okay with because then he could get shot in the head by zombie experts. T
Jul 30, 2007 Shawn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: few
This book dares you to read it. I hadn't thought about putting it up here, because, in fact, I have never finished it. I have the distinction of having had the book assigned to me no less than three times in various college courses, and never once read the whole thing.

The problem is I do not care about a single character in this novel. A rich family is cursed because they screwed over a poor family? Great. Where's the conflict? I hate rich people, and didn't want to see them redeemed.

The Daguer
Nov 12, 2013 Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this book. I recall reading it for the first time in my twenties, picking it up at random and being amazed how lively and picturesque the writing was, so different from the dreary Scarlet Letter I remembered from high school. The decline of the Pyncheon family after the curse of old man Maule, a fiercely independent man who’d staked a claim on land and a certain well which the progenitor of the Pyncheon clan, the old Puritan, desired to have for his own. Eventually he'd had Maule hung fo ...more
Jason Pettus
(My full review of this book is much larger than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find the entire essay at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

The CCLaP 100: In which I read 100 supposed "classics" for the first time, then write reports on whether or not I think they deserve the label

Book #2: House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The story in a nutshell:
Like any good horror story, the spooky House of the Seven Gables actually tells two stories at onc
Apr 12, 2012 William1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 19-ce, us
This narrative, published in 1850, starts with a preface by Hawthone explaining his concept of the Romance, which is to be distinguished from the Novel because it provides the writer with greater latitude to takes risks. The Novel is somehow more straightforward, more conservative, less flexible as a vehicle for experimentation.

The first chapter gives us the backstory in a kind of lump sum. Most contemporary novelists probably write such a backstory but often cut it, since, lacking action and ch
Jul 19, 2009 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne labels his work a Romance rather than a novel, thus giving himself permission to mix an element of the “Marvellous” into the narrative. The work itself begins with sprinkled oddities - a hint of witchcraft and necromancy, a mysterious and possibly supernatural death, the presence of a perpetual family curse, a puzzling mirror rumored to show unusual characteristics, a house itself that is personified. Hawthorne’s language is exquisite, very early 18th century-ish, almost courtly, certa ...more
Aug 09, 2012 Gkc3of9 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, fiction

Just a quick comment about Hawthorne's claim this is a "romance". Many posts here misunderstand the author's definition of the word romance, thinking he means the kind of book found in the romance section of the modern bookstore that includes Nora Roberts and the like. This is NOT the kind of romance the author is claiming for this novel. More closely akin to what Hawthorne means for the modern reader would be "fantasy", that is, not a story of realism, but arising from a creative liberty which
J.G. Keely
Jun 02, 2007 J.G. Keely rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hawthorne is the equivalent of nudging someone and winking without actually thinking of anything interesting, risque, beautiful, or even useful. It is sad that a man with such a voluminous writing ability was seemingly devoid of any notion of what to do with it.
Jan 30, 2016 ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ᴏᴍᴀɪʀᴀ by: Lectores experimentados de clásicos.
Shelves: brujas, gótico
"¿Por qué tienden los poetas a elegir a sus compañeras sin atender a que exista una similitud de dotes poéticas entre ellos, sino por unas cualidades que tanto podrían hacer feliz al artesano más rudo como a esos artífices ideales del espíritu? Probablemente sea porque, en su elevada situación el poeta no necesita de contacto humano, pero le da miedo descender algún día y sentirse un extraño"

Leyendo algunos fragmentos de la novela:

Esta es la prime
Dec 11, 2010 Janette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can see why English teachers like this book. The vocabulary alone makes it worth reading. Plus it's full of all that theme and symbolism that English teachers love to talk about.

Unfortunately, Nathaniel Hawthorne liked to talk about theme and symbolism too, which makes this book feel like one long treatise on theme and symbolism. I mean, seriously, Nathaniel Hawthorne goes on and on and on and then on some more about the stuff. He doesn't just tell you once that it is a degradation that Hepzib
Dec 20, 2012 Gloria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Curses spat out by an accused and condemned-to-death wizard.

Patriarchal greed which flows through the veins of a family tree.

Younger generations striving to break free from the curse, seemingly in vain as they labor to barely live beneath the gloomy seven gables of the ancestral manse.

I don't know if it's because Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter was required reading in junior high ... but I never have (until recently) been motivated to pick up his stories-- even though I really liked The Scarlet L
When I finished this story, I found it hard to care about it. It is my least favorite of Hawthorne's books. The characters were mostly unlikable, the plodding plot fattened up with many pages of useless description that added nothing. It was a relief to be done with it, an achievement that can only be attributed to my stubborn refusal to stop reading once engaged, no matter how annoying the material. :o) It does feel irreverent to be trashing Nathaniel Hawthorne. But time would be better spent r ...more
Valancourt Books
Feb 23, 2015 Valancourt Books rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Built on a wizard's grave, centuries of secret sins curse The House of Seven Gables

I have been wanting to read this for quite some time. When I came across this Aerie edition with perfectly cheesy cover art, I couldn't resist. I assumed the blurb was exaggerated to fit the edition, but in fact it wasn't.

Colonel Pyncheon is after Matthew Maule's land, but like all stubborn wizards, he won't give it up. As a result, Maule is tried for witchcraft and before he is put to death, he curses the Pyncheo
Jul 26, 2011 Q rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read Scarlet Letter in Jr High -I was surprised how much I enjoyed House of the Seven Gables. He called it a romance vs a novel; for a romance has a moral. Here the moral was the actions of past generations effect the current generation.

This book is a great historical novel - of changing times in New England. The Puritanical ways are changing to new thought. the impact of the Salem Witch trials - having cast a web of strife for many - is now coming back to center. Greed and arrogance of
Synopsis:"Nathaniel Hawthorne's gripping psychological drama concerns the Pyncheon family, a dynasty founded on pious theft, who live for generations under a dead man's curse until their house is finally exorcised by love."

Initially I found myself very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book set in 19th century Puritan New England. There was an eerie quality, a quiet subtle sense of suspense that drew me to find answers without a heart pounding urgency to solve the mysteries behind
Clif Hostetler
Nov 24, 2008 Clif Hostetler rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
The House of the Seven Gables begins with a preface by the author that identifies the work as a romance, not a novel. That may be the author's preference, but I think most romance fans will be disappointed if they read this book. The book is a classic by a famous American author, so it deserves to be read. Once you finish the book and look over the complete plot, you can see how romantic love has healed a 200-year family curse. Therefore, in that regard it is a romance. However, the experience o ...more
Oct 08, 2009 Stuart rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another "great American novel" that really is one of the Great American Novels, this book is a surprisingly quick read, by turns charming and creepy, with a small but excellently drawn cast of characters ranging from the comically tragic but dignified Hepzibah, to the gracefully mysterious Holgrave. An unexpected plot twist at the beginning of the book's final third leads to two chapters of excellent writing, one detailing Clifford and Hepzibah's flight on a train and the almost psychotic breakd ...more
Carol Storm
I read this book decades ago, as a teenager, but I'm reviewing now because of the awesome audio book version read by the amazing Joan Allen. If you must read House of the Seven Gables, try to get the audio book with Joan Allen!

There are so many things about this book that readers can hate on. It's long, long, long, and very dull, and very sad. Nothing at all happens for dozens and dozens of pages. The mansion decays. Hopeless, lonely old people feel bad about themselves. Then when things get hap
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Not so good as expected.

5* The Scarlet Letter
4* Rappaccini's Daughter
3* Wakefield ; Ethan Brand
3* Wakefield - Il velo nero del pastore
3* The Ambitious Guest
3* The Blithedale Romance
3* The House of the Seven Gables
TBR The Marble Faun
TBR Fanshawe
Aug 04, 2012 Anga rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Now, before I go into my review, I need warn you that I read this book in fifth grade by my own free will. Think about that. I had nowhere near the maturity to understand the nuances and themes of the book. Not when Black Beauty was more my speed at the time.

I HATED this book. After a intriguing introduction that made me decide to buy the book it quickly sunk into descriptions that I could have cared less for. The one chapter devoted to the Judge's "missed appointments" made me want to throw th
Oct 02, 2015 Ken rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Halfway through this novel I was prepared to write a scathing review because it took so long for the plot to proceed, but from chapter 13 on it did become more interesting. Even then, there were indulgent chapters like "Governor Pyncheon" where the author basically patted himself on the back for having given the story some action in the preceeding chapter. Still, now that I made it all the way to the end, I'm glad I did. My biggest problem with Hawthorne is that while the overall story he tells ...more
Apr 10, 2015 Tristram rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fervent penitents
A Never-Ending Story

Whereas Hawthorne, in The House of the Seven Gables, wanted to imply that greed and dishonesty, following their selfish ends with the help of established power, may well be said to create a sense of guilt which will stretch over and deform several generations, thus beginning a never-ending story of vice, uneasiness and retribution, reading the novel (or, as the author will have it, the Romance) itself soon seemed like a futile attempt at emulating Sisyphos to me. To be sure,
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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
More about Nathaniel Hawthorne...

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“Shall we never never get rid of this Past? ... It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body.” 42 likes
“It is very queer, but not the less true, that people are generally quite as vain, or even more so, of their deficiencies than of their available gifts.” 19 likes
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