An Interesting (and maybe confusing?) Link to Online Books By Hawthorne

Good friend  and former Hawthorne Community Association John Manoush recently wrote:  In the course of my recent brushing up on NH in preparation for Maine Calling radio spot, I came across a website called Librivox and it posts free downloads of hundreds of literary works that are in the public domain.  I searched for our friend Hawthorne and got the results on this page:

While it’s a good link to find Hawthorne’s writings online, please be aware that the titles and summaries may be a bit off.  Our British Hawthorne expert Norma reviewed the site and her comments are below.  She did conclude with:  the site does offer an additional source to Nathaniel’s work. 

And please remember that there is a complete set of Hawthorne’s works in the Hawthorne House and can be reviewed in-house, or borrowed with special permission. 

Norma’s comments about the Hawthorne listing in :

It does give people an opportunity to read Nathaniel’s works for free, however, reading the list of titles there are some that confused me, ‘Beneath An Umbrella’ is actually the subtitle of ‘Night Sketches’ and ‘In Colonial Days’ appears to be the website owners cover title for a compilation of four of Nathaniel’s sketches, ‘Howe’s Masquerade’ ‘Edward Randolph’s Portrait,’ ‘Lady Eleanor’s Mantle,’ and ‘Old Esther Dudley,’ the title of these being, ‘Legends of the Province House.’

I am also wary when you read some of the summaries they have given at the start of the stories, for example, the one that introduces ‘Dr. Grimshawe’s Secret,’ anyone who knows about how Julian changed it when he published it, the consequence was it hardly resembled what Nathaniel had written.

The ‘Ghost of Dr. Harris’ was a ghost story that Nathaniel told to Mrs Heywood when the family was in England. He wrote it up in 1856 and sent the manuscript to Mrs Heywood, it was never meant to be published. However, after Mrs Heywood’s death the manuscript passed to her sister who gave permission for it to be communicated in the 19th century for publication.

‘Little Daffydownilly’ is incorrectly spelt, should be ‘Little Daffydowndilly,’ but maybe that is just me being pedantic.

I think the titles are slightly strange how they have listed them from the children’s books Nathaniel wrote. For example, ‘How Thesus Slayed the Minotaur,’ which is actually included in ‘Tanglewood Tales’ as ‘the Minotaur.’ ‘Pegasus the Winged Horse’ and ‘Turning Everything into Gold’ are included in ‘The Wonder Book for Girls and Boys’ under the titles, ‘The Chimaera’ and ‘the Golden Touch’ respectively. Why don’t they use the actual titles.

‘The British Matron’ was the most confusing title to me, however looking at the content, the British Matron is a small excerpt from the chapter entitled ‘Leamington Spa,’ in ‘Our Old Home.’ ‘Our Old Home’ is also listed separately.

From what I can see, the majority of Nathaniel’s stories and sketches have been included, some listed separately and included in the collection in published titles, Twice-Told Tales, ‘The Mosses’ and ‘The Snow Image.’