The Scarlet Letter
Region: North America Russia and Central Asia
Subject: Religious, Political/Economic/Social Opinion
Artist: Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864)
Confronting Bodies: Nicholas I, Rev.A.C.Coxe
Dates of Action: 1852
Location: Russia, The United States of America
Description of Artwork: The Scarlet Letter, a Romance (1850) is a novel, dwelling on the tragic consequences of unconfessed guilt. Set in mid-seventeenth century puritan New England, the story follows the history of 4 people. Hester Pryne who has born the daughter of an unnamed father and must wear the scarlet "A" of Adultress on her bossom; Arthur Dimmesdale, a Puritan divine later revealed to be the father of the child; Roger Chillingworth, an elderly physician with whom Hester had contracted a loveless marriage several years before; and Pearl, the child, a beautiful and willful child, untouched by the moral dilemmas that torment the other characters. The lover's deed had "a consecration of its own" whereas Chillingworth had "violated in cold blood the sanctity of a human heart." This novel was the first U.S. work to rank among "classics of world literature."
The Incident: 1852, Russia: Banned by Nicholas I in the "censorship terror." In the same year, Rev. A. C. Coxe wrote in the Protestant and Episcopalian Quarterly in response to The Scarlet Letter that he "was opposed to any toleration of a popular and gifted writer when he perpetuated bad morals."
Results of Incident: Unknown
Source: Banned Books 387 B.C. to 1978 A.D., by Anne Lyon Haight, and Chandler B. Grannis, R.R. Bowker Co, 1978. Category:Political/Economic/Social Opinion