How Did Nathaniel Hawthorne Die? [SOLVED!]

Strange, that one of America’s worst presidents, Franklin Pierce, and one of America’s greatest novelists, Nathaniel Hawthorne, were best friends 😉 Stranger, that Hawthorne died while sleeping just a few feet away from Pierce – who, in fact, discovered him dead 👍 And strangest, perhaps, is that Hawthorne choose Pierce, and Pierce alone, to be with him when he died, by proposing, though sick and weak, that they take a trip together, knocking about New England. In this, life – and its cessation – followed art. “Happy the man that has such a friend when he comes to die!” Hawthorne wrote in The Blithdale Romance. “How many men, I wonder, does one meet with, in a lifetime, whom he would choose for his death-bed companions!” Hawthorne, clearly, had met just one. [1]
Today marks 150 years since Nathaniel Hawthorne’s death. He was far away from his hometown of Salem and his adopted city of Concord. Instead, he died in the company of his dear friend, ex-President Franklin Pierce. As Pierce said, he actually died in his sleep peacefully. I don’t think there are any plans to mark this memorial here in Salem (remember, we are Witch City, not Hawthorne city, and Nathaniel doesn’t seem to have cared much for Salem anyway), but (as usual) there will be events in Concord. It appears that Hawthorne had been unhappy and unsettled for some time before his death (just shy of 60; his birthday is July 4): there were money worries, health issues, the separation from his family, and of course the war–he doesn’t seem to have been enough of an Abolitionist or enough of a Yankee for his friends and neighbors– but at least his passing was peaceful, very peaceful according to President Pierce. I diddone a quick search of newspaper front pages for the week after May 19–and Hawthorne’s death was on the front page of every single newspaper I scanned, even in the South, although generally it was just a line or two in the midst of all the war news. Hawthorne was a well-known figure in his time and is now even more famous. Many compelling and contradictory facts can be found about him. work and the character of Nathaniel Hawthorne–he was both intensely shy and so handsome that people would stop him in the street– but for me, he’s always been the ultimate New Englander, and that is how and why I am thinking about him today. Starnisha Stoddard amended this on October 26, 2021 [2]
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Hawthorne was terribly missing his two sisters and mother while attending college and, upon graduating, he returned to home after a twelve-year absence. He had also begun to write with purpose and soon found his “voice” self-publishing several stories, among them “The Hollow of the Three Hills” and “An Old Woman’s Tale.” By 1832, he wrotetten “My Kinsman, Major Molineux” and “Roger Malvin’s Burial,” two of his greatest tales and in 1837, Twice Told Tales. Though his writing brought him some notoriety, it didn’t provide a dependable income and for a time he worked for the Boston Custom House Weighing and gauging salt and coal. Ronte Bains for his insight. [3]
Image #3 Also, it is explained that Hawthorne was a Bowdoin College student from 1821-1824. He became friends with Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the future president Franklin Pierce. Hawthorne’s Twice-Told Tales was published in 1837. Before that, he wrote in relative obscurity in what he called “his owl’s nest,” which is a garret at his family home. This is what we can see now. period of his lifeHe had also written that he “never lived” but only “dreamed of living.” (Letter to Longfellow June 4, 1837). It was his period of contemplation and writing, Malcolm Cowley referred to it as, that was “the key fact” in Hawthorne’s career. This was the “term of apprenticeship” which would lead him eventually to write his “richly meditated fiction.” Valeria Pike amended the above on February 27, 2021 [4]
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Mehreen Alberts

Written by Mehreen Alberts

I'm a creative writer who has found the love of writing once more. I've been writing since I was five years old and it's what I want to do for the rest of my life. From topics that are close to my heart to everything else imaginable!

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