The Scarlet Letter - download pdf or read online

By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hailed via Henry James as "the most interesting piece of inventive writing but placed forth within the country," Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter reaches to our nation's ancient and ethical roots for the cloth of serious tragedy. Set in an early New England colony, the radical exhibits the negative influence a unmarried, passionate act has at the lives of 3 participants of the neighborhood: the defiant Hester Prynne; the fiery, tortured Reverend Dimmesdale; and the obsessed, vengeful Chillingworth.

With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne turned the 1st American novelist to forge from our Puritan history a common vintage, a masterful exploration of humanity's never-ending fight with sin, guilt and pride.

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Sample text

If, then, he offered training for this kind, not the didactic kind, it was ridiculous for him to say that it was a shame to allow Isocrates to speak, since he was not going to speak in the same way as him. I’m not even mentioning the fact that of those who studied rhe[tor]ic with him, not one has gone down as a shin[ing example] of either of them” (cols. Herc. Herc. 141). “Aristotle himself, when he saw Isocrates flourishing with fine students because he [Isocrates] turned his discussions from lawsuits and political cases into empty elegance of speech, altered almost the whole form of his own teaching, and quoted a verse from Philoctetes with a slight alteration; he said, ‘It’s a shame to be silent and let barbarians speak’ (but he [Aristotle] altered this to ‘let Isocrates speak’); and after that he decorated and illustrated all his erudition, and combined knowledge of facts with practice in oratory” (testimonium 32a).

And if it seems to those of you who are viewing us that, out of such things as existed in the beginning, the investigation is now satisfactory, more than the other subjects that are based on adding to what has been transmitted (ex paradoseōs ēuxēmenas), then what remains, for all of you who have listened to our work, is to be forgiving of what has been omitted, and to be very grateful for what has been discovered” (184a8–­b8). In contrast with rhetoric, a subject upon which numerous textbooks already existed for a long time, dialectic found a systematic form for the first time in the work of Aristotle.

One of the erudite speakers in Athenaeus declares (8, 354b–­c), “I am well aware that Epicurus, who was very devoted to truth, has said of him, in his letter On Vocations, that after he had devoured his father’s inheritance he rushed into the army, and because he was bad at this, he got into selling drugs. Then, since the peripatos of Plato was open to everybody, he [Epicurus] said, Aristotle presented himself and sat in on the lectures, not without talent, and gradually got out of that and into the theoretical [disposition].

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