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Our Old Home

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Book Overview: 

These essays, based on Hawthorne’s stay in England from 1853 to 1857 as American Consul in Liverpool.

In these writings, he displays his humor, his empathetic nature, his pride in his country, and sometimes his sharp judgment of others. He shares with us the difficulties of being a consul in the 1850’s, takes us on a tour with him through rural England and Scotland, shows us the splendors of London, and the horrors of the poverty that so many suffered.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .etached portions of the structure; the windows mostly open on hinges, but show a delightful irregularity of shape and position; a multiplicity of chimneys break through the roof at their own will, or, at least, without any settled purpose of the architect. The whole affair looks very old,—so old indeed that the front bulges forth, as if the timber framework were a little weary, at last, of standing erect so long; but the state of repair is so perfect, and there is such an indescribable aspect of continuous vitality within the system of this aged house, that you feel confident that there may be safe shelter yet, and perhaps for centuries to come, under its time-honored roof. And on a bench, sluggishly enjoying the sunshine, and looking into the street of Warwick as from a life apart, a few old men are generally to be seen, wrapped in long cloaks, on which you may detect the glistening of a silver badge representing the Bear and Ragged Staff. These decorated worthie. . . Read More

Community Reviews

A series of travel articles.

Not a bad one by Hawthorne, but not his best. He seemed very grumpy in these sketches. He seems in love with the land but is not too happy about the people. What he says about their women is aweful! No wonder the English critics had a lot to say about this book!

I'd give this one six stars if I could. This leisurely ramble through England and Scotland during his stint as American consul reveals a warm, human, and, yes, very funny side of Nathaniel Hawthorne that we don't ordinarily encounter in his many dark short stories or his even darker novels. Among...more