The Artist of the Beautiful
11 Installments—Entirely free
In The Artist of the Beautiful, an 1844 tale by Nathaniel Hawthorne, a shy and lonely artist becomes obsessed with bringing beauty to life. Owen Warland is a slight and delicate man, sensitive and creatively inclined. He is in love with the beautiful Annie Hovenden, but Owen’s chances of winning Annie’s hand pale in comparison to those of Robert Danforth, a strapping and very traditional local blacksmith. When Robert marries Annie, Owen is disappointed, plunging himself deep into his unique artistic mission: his goal is to bring a lovely object to life. After many long and difficult hours of work, Owen completes his project—a wondrous mechanical butterfly, a thing of fragile loveliness and amazingly lifelike movements. He gives this precious work of art to Robert and Annie, humbly offering it as a delayed wedding present. As it changes hands from giver to receivers, the butterfly provokes many reactions. Whether delighted or scoffing, all have something to say about it, until the butterfly is laid in the hands of Robert and Annie’s young son. What ensues in this haunting fable is sure to surprise, forcing the reader to contemplate the very nature and purpose of art.
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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was a pivotal figure in American literature, part of the innovative and imaginative group of writers and thinkers who brought about the "American Renaissance" of the nineteenth century. Born in New Hampshire, Hawthorne was raised by his mother and other relatives after his father died while overseas. Hawthorne was sent to college, but preferred his family home. Once he returned there after graduation, he retreated to his own quarters and dabbled in writing, although he did not publish any of these early pieces. After marrying, Hawthorne brought his family to Massachusetts, where he held a steady job at the Salem Custom House to make ends meet. In later years Hawthorne again took up writing and published his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, in 1850. The novel was well-received, and Hawthorne's legend as a master of fiction had been established. He went on to write such classics as The House of the Seven Gables and The Marble Faun, continuing to earn the favor of the American and international reading public. To this day, Hawthorne's works are beloved for their unique and haunting nature, exploring both dark and lighter aspects of American history, psychology, and landscape.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
An elderly man, with his pretty daughter on his arm, was passing along the street, and emerged from the gloom of the cloudy evening into the light that fell across the pavement from the window of a small shop. It was a projecting window; and on the inside were suspended a variety of watches, ...Back to top
Reviewed by dreamdust on May 29, 2011
I've always been more impressed with his short stories, than his longer works. This is a good example of why that is-what a writer!
Reviewed by recmr on Jul 4, 2009
I'm trying to read in english. It's a complicated misssion. Nathaniel have helped me.
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Ratings for 'The Artist of the Beautiful' by Hawthorne, Nathaniel