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The House of the Seven Gables

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  31,600 ratings  ·  1,915 reviews
The sins of one generation are visited upon another in a haunted New England mansion until the arrival of a young woman from the country breathes new air into mouldering lives and rooms. Written shortly after The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables re-addresses the theme of human guilt in a style remarkable in both its descriptive virtuosity and its truly modern ...more
Paperback, Norton Critical Edition, 225 pages
Published August 8th 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published March 1851)
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Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Henry Avila
The illustrious Pyncheon family had quite a useful reign, (but that was long ago) its founder Col.Pyncheon, a stout, merciless Puritan and able soldier, helped wipe out the scourge, the evil threat of the abominable witches, in the honorable Salem trials of 1692. For his just reward, he happened by pure accident, to take over the property of old Matthew Maule. Still, a splendid , beautiful area , the perfect place to set his building, the magnifient Seven Gables,
the Colonel's new mansion, for hi
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of 19th-century classics
Shelves: classics, books-i-own
Note, March 17, 2018: I edited this again slightly, just to change the formatting of a long quotation.

Note, May 14, 2016: I edited this review just now to make a slight factual correction.

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 allusi
Descubrí a Nathaniel Hawthorne a través Herman Melville, uno de mis escritores preferidos. Melville y Hawthorne se hicieron grandes amigos a punto tal que Melville le termina dedicando su obra cumbre Moby Dick: "En señal de admiración a un genio este libro está dedicado a Nathaniel Hawthorne." Melville siempre destacaba, un atributo sobresaliente de Hawthorne que según sus propias palabras "Es la negrura en Hawthorne lo que tanto me atrae y me fascina. Los grandes genios son parte de los tiempos ...more
Alan Fay
Dec 02, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
First the book was difficult because of dense language. Then the language lightened up and I could enjoy parts. At the end it went rapidly downhill, being slapstick in style. I could have saved myself a lot of time and just written this as my review.


“Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in th
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19-ce, fiction, 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
Clif Hostetler
Oct 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Maria Bikaki
με παίδεψε πολύ αναγνωστικά αλλά είχε ταυτόχρονα μια περίεργη γοητεία που συνολικά με κέρδισε.
full review to come
Mar 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars for first read; 3.5 for second

In late September I toured the House of the Seven Gables in Salem, Massachusetts. Our guide, a knowledgeable and entertainingly wry young man, spoke of two additions made to the house after the woman who bought it decided to turn it into a tourist attraction: a room to emulate Hepzibah’s little shop and a secret stairway not mentioned in the text that Clifford must’ve used to be able to suddenly appear the way he does. The latter intrigued me since I didn’t
Ioannis Anastasiadis
Το 1850 ο Ναθανιελ Χοθορν όντας απογοητευμένος από την αιφνίδια απόλυση του από την εργασία του ως επιθεωρητή στο Τελωνείο του Σειλεμ της Μασαχουσέτης, μια απόφαση που ο ίδιος και άλλες προσωπικότητες των γραμμάτων και των τεχνών της εποχής απέδωσαν σε σκοπιμότητες πολιτικών του αντιπάλων, μετακομίζει στο Λενοξ, σε ένα παραθεριστικό κέντρο της περιοχής στο όποιο συχνάζουν διανοούμενοι, συγγραφείς, ποιητές όπως ο Μέλβιλ με τον όποιο συνδέεται φιλικά, ανταλλάσσοντας απόψεις, βιβλία και πολύωρες συ ...more
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read and re-read this many times.

“...the act of the passing generation is the germ which may and must produce good or evil fruit, in a far distant time”.

Thus speaks Hawthorne in the course of his book and to a large extent this summarises the theme and plot of the story.

The book is a natural progression from his previous work, The Scarlet Letter, almost an updated (by 150-200 years) sequel to it. Hawthorne began it a mere 6 months after the publication of The Scarlet Letter. Here he show
Mar 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
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
Aug 23, 2009 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
Jul 30, 2007 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
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
J.G. Keely
May 26, 2007 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.
A classic by an American novelist. I've wanted to add more classics into my reading schedule, and recently came across this one. Unfortunately, I found it too dry and slow paced. It was very detailed and full of symbolism. One that is probably used a lot in classes to illustrate imagery and symbolism in writing, but not an especially enjoyable read.
Jason Pettus
Jan 14, 2008 rated it liked it
(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
I’ll admit that I am not a big fan of some of Hawthorne’s writing. At the beginning of the book it was slow going and hard for me to get into. But I stuck it out.

The things I did like about the story were the gothic undertones. If Hawthorne had focused more on those, I might have liked the story better.

I am not giving up on Hawthorne yet. Eventually I will get to the “Marbel Faun”.
Jul 19, 2009 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
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, victorian
3'5 estrellas

A pesar de las muchas recomendaciones y las buenas críticas leídas, cuando empecé este libro iba un poco a ciegas. No sabía si se trataba de una novela costumbrista, gótica o de terror, y tampoco conocía la pluma de Hawthorne, por lo que temía que se me atragantara.

En mi opinión, la novela mezcla un poco todos estos elementos. No llega a dar verdadero miedo ni a ser una historia de fantasmas propiamente dicha (por suerte para mi), pero si que existe este aura extraña y sofocante, e
Stephen Robert Collins
Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was very surprised recently when The Northern Echo in Darlington in Memories had heard of Hawthorn but could not name a single book by him .This embracing as got my copy free with a box of household matches which goes show free gifts can be great.
I don't think the author who is long dead would been very pleased to find that his book was give away.
A ghost story with love twist like lot of classic American book has been forgotten as it not been on the TV or movie for years & into day is for
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
Not going to be a favorite. A lot of words for not much plot.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Please note that I gave this book half a star and rounded it to 1 star on Goodreads.

Bah. Bah a thousand times. I have no idea why I started reading this. I think for the Halloween Book Bingo and I ended up switching it out. This thing was painful to read. I don't even know what to tell you besides if you must read this, just pace yourself since trying to force read this thing was not fun at all. At least the last 10-15 pages were just about Project Gutenberg though. I am going to complain though
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Omaira by: Lectores experimentados de clásicos.
Shelves: gotiquillos
"¿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"

Esta es la primera novela gótica que leo con plena conciencia de que lo es, es decir, sabiendo mín
Ignacio Senao f
EL marketing ha dañado mucho esta novela. No es necesario tratarla de terror y poner siempre de imagen un caserón tétrico. NO HAY NADA DE TERROR.

Muy pausadamente narra como en la actualidad una familia ha quedado gafada por culpa de sus antepasados, los que construyeron tal casa. Y todos tienden a encontrarse en esa mansión parecido a la atracción de un imán. Acabando siempre mal.

Destacar la buena escritura, descripciones y comidas. Es una novela relajante, simplemente.
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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
“Shall we never never get rid of this Past? ... It lies upon the Present like a giant's dead body.” 51 likes
“What other dungeon is so dark as one's own heart! What jailer so in exorable as one's self!” 37 likes
More quotes…