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The House of the Seven Gables - 1851
#1
I wondered whether to post about this book, considering all the floating definitions of "gothic romance" that are out there. I finally decided to do so after comparing it to the Castle of Otranto, the classic "Gothic romance." To me, there is minimal romance in the Castle of Otranto....it is really an exercise in the supernatural, the sins of the past, Gothic atmosphere, and a foreboding setting. All of which applies to The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (aka The Scarlet Letter's ugly stepsister).

I'll keep it short. This is a story of the old New England Pyncheon family. The Puritan sire, Colonel Pyncheon, stole land from old Matthew Maule and built the House of the Seven Gables on it. But Maule didn't want to sell the land...so the Colonel got him hung for witchcraft. Problem solved! But Colonel Pyncheon did not live long to enjoy the house....hence, the start of the "curse."

In the present day, Hepzibah Pyncheon is awaiting the return of her brother Clifford who has been imprisoned for decades for murder. Her young country cousin Phoebe comes to visit and ends up the force of good in the book. There is also a mysterious young artist who lives in one of the gables and an evil cousin.

I first read this in high school and remembered it fondly. I had a hard time reading it a second time because the story is so compelling, but the paragraphs are so loooooooooong (it was written in 1851). The next time I read it, I'll read it for language and mood.

I enjoyed the mood, the atmosphere, the characters, the sense of the old giving away to the new, the house, and the few ghosts that are hinted at. If you want to reconnect with a classic, I would recommend this gem. (There is also a bit of romance between the artist and Phoebe.)
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#2
Desdemona Wrote:I first read this in high school and remembered it fondly. I had a hard time reading it a second time because the story is so compelling, but the paragraphs are so loooooooooong (it was written in 1851). The next time I read it, I'll read it for language and mood.

That is definitely an issue with novels (or even nonfiction and letters, etc.) of the era. It's like, Get the point already, will you?? Wink

Yeah, I know; a different (and obviously slower) time.

Might give it a try. I do prefer definite supernatural elements in a Gothic.
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#3
I have not read Hawthorne's Seven Gables, but I do have a copy of it. I believe that some of his stories would be classified as American Gothic, along with names like Edgar Allan Poe.
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