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The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

af Nathaniel Hawthorne

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8,609114974 (3.51)1 / 406
Roman om et hus i New England, hvor efterkommerne af oberst Pyncheon gennem 3 århundreder har måttet leve under en forbandelse fra en mand dømt for hekseri.
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Historical Fiction
  BooksInMirror | Feb 19, 2024 |
A gloomy New England mansion provides the setting for this classic exploration of ancestral guilt and its expiation through the love and goodwill of succeeding generations.
  PlumfieldCH | Oct 31, 2023 |
It's been decades since I read my paperback copy of The House of the Seven Gables, but I had read the "Classics Illustrated" comic book version several times when I was young, and I remembered that better.

The novel takes place during the mid-1800s, but the story of the Pyncheon family and its troubles goes back to the 1600s, when greedy Colonel Pyncheon coveted farmer Matthew Maule's little plot of land. The colonel was probably the reason Maule was tried and hanged for being a witch. Pyncheon acquired the land and had the house with its seven gables built upon it. Matthew Maule's son, Thomas, built it. Before Maule died, he told the colonel that God would give him blood to drink. (That part of the novel reminded me of King Ahab of Israel coveting Naboth's vineyard, which Naboth refused to sell. Queen Jezebel had Naboth falsely accused and executed. The Prophet Elijah pronounced doom upon the royal couple and every male in or belonging to Ahab's family. There was even a line about the dogs licking up Ahab's blood where they licked up Naboth's.)

Hepzibah Pyncheon has a lifetime interest in the house, which suffers from both wet and dry rot. She's so poor that she opens a little shop (fortunately, one of her ancestors had one built in the house, a 'shameful' deed the New England aristocratic family hasn't used since his death). Hepzibah is what would be described as late middle aged in our time, but she's old for back then. Because she has never married, she's an 'old maid'. I spent the novel wishing someone would take an ugly old turban from her head and getting her a pair of glasses so she won't seem to be scowling as she tries to see.

Hepzibah's beloved brother, Clifford, has been released after spending 30 years in prison for a murder he never committed that wasn't a murder to begin with. Clifford had been a beautiful young man with a love of beauty, but his ordeal has left him childlike. Hepzibah is devoted to him, but he won't even look at her because she's so wrinkled. She's developed a harsh croak in her throat, which makes her attempt to read aloud to him almost unbearable for Clifford. It's pretty obvious that Hawthorne had a lot of sympathy for Clifford, but I don't like him.

Fortunately for the siblings, their fresh, young, beautiful cousin Phoebe Pyncheon has come up from the country to stay with them after her mother remarried. This cheerful girl has a knack for making things homey and attractive. She's also much better at running the shop.

The Pyncheons have a lodger, Holcome, who earns his bread by taking daguerreotypes, an early form of photography. He has revolutionary ideas, but is not indifferent to Phoebe's charms. Uncle Venner, a poor man who tends to gardens and is a natural optimist, has befriended Hepzibah for years. His friendship circle grows to take in Clifford, Phoebe, and Holcome.

The most respected member of the Pyncheon family is Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, who would have been Jaffrey Pyncheon II while his uncle Jaffrey was alive. (Clifford supposedly murdered Uncle Jaffrey.) He's a hard, cold man who fakes being benevolent. Clifford is terrified of him. Hepzibah hates him because she has a shrewd idea that he framed Clifford. Phoebe is repulsed when the judge tries to kiss her, as her cousin. The judge is the spitting image of their ancestor, the colonel.

There is a story within the story that Holcome tells Phoebe about how Matthew Maule II, grandson of the first Matthew, unintentionally causes the death of beautiful Alice Pyncheon, daughter of Gervase Pyncheon, the colonel's grandson. It's a sad story. Alice's ghost is supposed to haunt the house, playing upon her beloved harpsichord.

I think Hawthorne was paid by the word, because he certainly uses a lot of them to tell his story. My memory of the "Classics Illustrated" adaptation ensured I knew what had happened with Judge Pyncheon, and the author annoyed me considerably by how long it took him to reveal it. I had to wait a long time for the memorable scene with the ghosts, too.

Clifford's chat with a fellow train passenger late in the tale was good for a snicker because he was so very wrong in what he thought trains would mean for humankind.

It's still a good story despite Hawthorne dragging some scenes out. As for Ms. Alexander's narration, her voice is so soothing that it took me five days to get through the first CD because I kept falling asleep. ( )
  JalenV | Jul 21, 2023 |
I read this in anticipation of a visit to Salem. It was hard to get into, but there’s one scene towards the end of the block that was written in such an original way. It will always stick with me. It’s a description of all the things one character is supposed to be doing while he’s sitting in a chair. Without any spoilers, it was such a fascinating way to move the plot forward. The rest of the novel is heavy on the description of the home and it's gloomy interior. The theme of the sins of the father is a prominent one.

“For what other dungeon is so dark as one’s own heart?”

“I love to watch how the day, tired as it is, lags away reluctantly and hates to be called yesterday so soon.” ( )
  bookworm12 | May 24, 2023 |
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Hawthorne, Nathanielprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Alexander, RoslynFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Angelo, ValentiIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Brooks, Van WyckIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Colby, Homer W.Illustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Davidson, Cathy N.Efterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Elsner, RitaOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Fogle, Richard HarterIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Furst, ClydeRedaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Heald, AnthonyNarratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Kiepenheuer, Noa ElisabethOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Lathrop, George ParsonsIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
MacEwen, MaryIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Minckwitz, FriedrichOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Moffett, H. Y.Redaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Pearce, Roy HarveyIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Peters, DonadaFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Schirmer, DukeEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Stern, Milton R.Redaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Wineapple, BrendaIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Half-way down a by-street of one of our New England towns, stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.
When a writer calls his work a Romance, it need hardly be observed that he wishes to claim a certain latitude, both as to its fashion and material, which he would not have felt himself entitled to assume had he professed to be writing a Novel. (Preface by the Author)
Hawthorne wrote his second novel, The House of the Seven Gables, during the fall and winter of 1850-1851, while he was living in Lenox, Massachusetts. (Afterword)
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This is the main work for The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It should not be combined with any adaptation, abridgement, etc.
ISBN 0809598752 is a Wildside Press publication.
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Roman om et hus i New England, hvor efterkommerne af oberst Pyncheon gennem 3 århundreder har måttet leve under en forbandelse fra en mand dømt for hekseri.

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