Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nathaniel Hawthorne makes a rare public appearance


Our 2012 One Book, One Town selection is The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. We will welcome Hawthorne, in the person of literary historian Rob Velella, to the library on Thursday, December 13, at 7 pm for Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Haunted Mind.

Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Hawthorne lived most of his life in New England. He was descended from John Hathorne, the only unrepentant judge of the Salem Witch Trials. In fact, Nathaniel added the "w" to his surname to disassociated himself from this troubling chapter in colonial history. Painfully shy, he never conducted public readings, preferring the company of his wife, Sophia Peabody, and friends. Among his associates, he could count many of the great literary minds of the day, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville, Bronson Alcott, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He enjoyed a lifelong friendship with Franklin Pierce and served as his biographer.

Rob Velella is an independent scholar specializing in 19th century American literature. In addition to writing for literary magazines and his own blog, Velella gives readings and dramatic presentations as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, and Hawthorne. For his visit to Merrimack, Hawthorne will read selections from some of his shorter works. A question and answer session with Rob Velella will follow.

Reservations are recommended for this living history event. Adults and teens are invited. Reserve seats by going to our online calendar, emailing us, or calling 424-5021. Thanks to the Friends of the Merrimack Public Library for co-sponsoring this event.

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