About the BookNathaniel Hawthorne’s magnum opus The Scarlet Letter is a romantic work of fiction in a historical setting. Set in 17th century Puritan Boston, Massachusetts during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout the novel, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.
It is one of those literary masterpieces which will always remain as ‘contemporary’. The charm of the novel lies in the fact that regardless of its historical context, the novel encompasses timeless predicaments of humanity. Above all, Hawthorne’s magnificent narrative playfulness has endowed the text with ceaseless magical appeal for amaranthine interpretations. As a result, even after innumerable critical reviews and analyses of the text, it seems always inadequate to get a complete grasp of this magnanimous interplay of complex human psychology, history and society.
The book conglomerates exhaustively, all the possible and relevant critical views along with the author’s own analysis of the text. The novel has been scrutinized from interdisciplinary perspectives, especially, from perspectives of psychology, cultural studies and history. It contains comprehensive study of each chapter of the novel concentrating on critical analyses of minutest of details. This is further supported by chapters which deal with author’s age, his biography, and themes merging in the novel. Designed for students pursuing master’s degree in English Literature, the book covers chapter synopses, Hawthorne’s biography, critical and theoretical approaches like feminist reading, psychoanalysis and postmodernist viewpoint.About the Author/sDr. Devaleena Das is an Assistant Professor of English at Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi. She has published papers and articles in national, international journals and e-journals like Families, Rupkatha, Banheek and Muse India. She is co-editing the book Unveiling Apocalyptic Desire: Fallen Women in Eastern Literature with a senior Fulbright scholar Professor Colette Morrow from Purdue University. Oxford University Press is also bringing out her critical anthology Nineteenth and Twentieth Century American Women Poets shortly.
Dr. Das is also a course designer and writer of Post Graduate Studies at Women and Gender Studies Department, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi. She has received prestigious fellowships. In 2009, she was awarded Foreign Travel Fellowship by University of Calcutta for her research at University of Queensland, Australia. She was awarded a grant jointly by De-Paul University, Chicago and IASPR for presenting paper on ‘Bengali Literature and Popular Romance.’ She has been a regular writer in the prestigious newspaper The Statesman, and has published numerous articles and interviews.