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The House of the Seven Gables Audio Cassette – Jan 1991


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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Audio Book Contractors (January 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556851545
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556851544
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.8 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up. Hawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem. More than 200 years later, we meet the family in its decaying, gabled mansion, still haunted by the presence of dead ancestors: Hepzibah, an elderly gentlewoman fallen on had times; her ineffectual brother, Clifford; and young Phoebe, a country maiden who cheerfully takes it upon herself to care for her two doddering relations. There's also Holgrave, a free-spirited daguerreotypist, who makes a surprising transformation into conventional respectability at the story's end. These people seem to be symbols for Hawthorne's theme more than full-bodied characters in their own right. As such, it can only be difficult for today's young adults to identify with them, especially since they are so caught up in a past that is all but unknown to present day sensibilities. Talented Joan Allen, twice nominated for Academy Awards, reads the tale in a clear, luminous voice. Because she has chosen not to do voices, however, it is sometimes difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, she is more than equal to the task of handling Hawthorne's stately prose in a presentation that will be a good curriculum support for students of Hawthorne or those seeking special insight into this work of fiction.?Carol Katz, Harrison Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A large and generous production, pervaded with that vague hum, that indefinable echo, of the whole multitudinous life of man, which is the real sign of a great work of fiction."
—Henry James --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By abt1950 on June 24 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What can you say about Nathaniel Hawthorne's "House of the Seven Gables" that hasn't been said before? It's dark; it's Gothic; much of it is depressing; and the language is dense 19th century prose. Those who read primarily for plot will find it slow going, and those who look for likeable characters may be largely disappointed. In other words, for modern readers, this book may be a tough sell. Personally, I found it a little dull and a letdown after having recently reread (and enjoyed) "The Scarlet Letter."
Nonetheless, "The House of the Seven Gables" has its pleasures. Hawthorne, the scion of an old Massachusetts Puritan family, injects an unusual sense of historical depth into his writings. This is certainly true of "The House of the Seven Gables," which explores the idea of character flaws, evil and retribution passed down from generation to generation in a single family. Of course not everyone in the family is guilty, but the sins of a few taint the lives of all. As in much of Hawthorne's work, the supernatural, sometimes implied and sometimes explicit, plays a role in the workings of the plot. Even the daguerrotypist--nothing but an early photographer to us--must have given the 19th century reader a frisson because of his combination of mesmeric powers and miraculous ability to produce telling images out of pure light.
Hawthorne is a master of description, an expert at using his words to create images that convey far more than simple visuals. Even when the plot seemed stale and the characters wooden, the author's use of the language made it worth continuing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on April 13 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I'm a big fan of Hawthorne's short stories, this is my first venture into his novel writing. His short stories, by their very nature, move from conflict to climax without much ado. They are preachy, pedantic, and allegorical--and I love them. "...Seven Gables" moves along at a much slower pace, developing symbolism and characters with greater subtlety and depth. The plot itself is not much deeper than one of his short stories. We watch humbled, yet strong Hepzibah struggle for a living from a one room shop in the house. Along the way, she meets a variety of characters and becomes host and confidant to a long-lost relative, gentle Phoebe. Phoebe is sunlight, poking into the shadows of the gabled house, bringing vivacity to its occupants, Hepzibah, Clifford, and Holgrave. Yes, Hawthorne hints at sinister things in the past and present of the old house, but only with the arrival of Judge Pyncheon do we begin to suspect trouble brewing.
The conclusion of the book involves death and hidden riches and suspicions and redemption. The symbols throughout--the house, the chimney, the elm tree, the chickens, etc.--manage to reveal their purposes in due time. In a satisfactory manner, Hawthorne contrasts the insidious nature of religious hypocrisy with the virtues of honesty and gentle love. The horrors of the Pyncheons' past fade away in the light of Phoebe's commitment and care. Her time in the house brings life to all within...all except one.
Hawthorne could've encapsulated this tale in one of his short stories. He could've sliced away words with meticulous demand. Instead, he allows us to know and care for the people in his story. Some readers, granted, will find it difficult to care and will call it a waste of their time; sure, it takes a little effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By La Fornarina on July 15 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A slow, leisurely, and deep read. Hawthorne has a wonderful prose style that is uniquely him. He has a poetic way of taking things that seem small or insignificant and making them large and thoughtful. The plot does not move along quickly, but I found that the reading did. The characters seem to move in slow motion for a great majority of the book, and every movement has volumes of meaning. I feel this book is very representative of the emergence of american values of equality, of a disdain for the importance previously placed on pedigree or heritage and of course, of the emphasis on things like virtue, humility, etc. A delicious read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on May 31 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Though there were definitely times when this book was slow or difficult to understand, Hawthorne's writing, through the use of metaphors, allusions and other rhetorical devices is a wonderful accomplishment. It was hard for me to get into the book at the beginning and especially through the long discussion of the Pyncheon family but it payed off to know this information when the climax arose. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but was not totally impressed by the story, reguardless of the universal themes that apply to us today.
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By A Customer on Nov. 24 2003
Format: Paperback
I tried to read this book for the first time when I was in my late teens, but I couldn't stand it. The language was just too flowery and long-winded. After twelve years or so, I just tried to read it again. This time, I was able to get through the book.
I thoroughly enjoyed Hawthorne's descriptive language. His ability to paint a picture through words is amazing; however, this same technique is what caused the book to move so slowly. Hawthorne took hundreds of words to say what could easily have been said in a couple of sentences. Yes, that is just the way American romantic novelists of the mid-nineteenth century wrote; still, for American readers of the twenty-first century who are used to fast-paced life, this sort of writing can be difficult at times.
My biggest problem with this book was its ending. Everything was just too neatly wrapped up. The remainder of the Pyncheon clan and Holgrave had too happy an ending. With the background of the Pyncheons, they should not have had such an ideal ending! The ending should not have been so neatly tied up. There should have been loose ends and serious problems remaining for everyone.
If you enjoy Hawthorne or just simply want to become more familiar with mid-nineteenth century American literature, read The House of the Seven Gables. If you cannot abide books that spend more time with setting, descriptions, etc., than actual movement of the plot, you might want to read another book.
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