Nathaniel Hawthorne

50 of the Scariest Short Stories of All Time

It’s that time of year again, when the pumpkins come out, the fake cobwebs are hung and we feel that dormant urge to be chilled, thrilled and spooked to our bones. Get out your flashlights, because a scary story awaits — actually, make that fifty of them. Now, there’s more to scary stories than goblins, ghouls, blood and your general horror — here there be monsters of many kinds, existential and literal, extraordinary and everyday. And remember: like beauty, fear is in the bloody eye of the beholder. So whether you yearn for classic horror or literary fiction guaranteed to make your skin crawl, read on. If you dare! … Read More

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Lewis Carroll’s Letter to Alice Liddell and Other Artifacts From the NYPL’s Children’s Books Exhibition

Last Friday, an essential exhibit for book lovers and onetime children of all stripes opened at the New York Public Library: The ABC Of It: Why Children’s Books Matter. Within, you can find the copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that belonged to Alice Liddell, a recording of E.B. White reading from Charlotte’s Web, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s family copy of Mother Goose, complete with annotations on which sections were too scary for the children, the original Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals, and more delights. Take a look at some of the treasures the exhibit has to offer after the jump, and head on up to the NYPL to see the show in person before it closes next March. … Read More

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The Literary Canon as Graphic Novel

Earlier in the year, we shared some of our favorite selections from the first volume of one of the coolest publishing projects we’ve heard about in a long time — The Graphic Canon, wherein almost 200 classic works of literature will be re-interpreted and published in graphic form by 130-odd visual artists over 1,344 pages in three volumes. Whew. The second installment, The Graphic Canon, Vol. 2: From “Kubla Khan” to the Brontë Sisters to The Picture of Dorian Gray, edited by Russ Kick, hits shelves next week, but we’re lucky enough to have a little preview to whet your appetite. Click through to check out a few standouts from the second volume of this amazing series, and then be sure to pick up a copy of the book for much more. … Read More

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Ranking Literary Devils by Their Relative Fearsomeness

The devil — or Satan, or Lucifer, or Beezlebub — has been skulking about literature almost as long as literature has existed, manifesting in many forms and with many personalities. In Victor LaValle’s newest novel The Devil in Silver, published this week, the devil stalks New Hyde hospital, slowly killing off its patients before sneaking back behind a silver door on the ward. In honor of LaValle’s book, we decided to rank some of the most prominent literary devils from least to most fearsome — because every devil is its own bag of mischief. Click through to read our rankings, and let us know if you agree — or which literary devils you’d add — in the comments. … Read More

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A Brief Survey of Unlikely Literary Friendships

It’s a well known fact that, like any contemporaries in a wide artistic field, authors like to hang out together. It makes sense — who else could a writer gripe to, swap critiques with, and steal ideas from? But sometimes we’re a little surprised as to the pairs that pop up in literary history — whether because of huge age differences, disparate personalities, or just issues of accessibility. Click through to see a few pairs of famous unlikely literary friendships that blossomed nonetheless, and if we’ve missed your favorite odd couple, let us know about it in the comments. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Hester Prynne

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s dubious heroine, Hester Prynne. … Read More

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