The Scarlet Letter, published in 1850, is the classic Gothic American romance novel, generally considered to be Nathaniel Hawthorne's masterpiece. Set in Puritan New England in the seventeenth century, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who gives birth after committing adultery, refuses to name the father, and struggles to create a new life of repentance and dignity. Throughout, Hawthorne explores the issues of grace, legalism, and guilt. You read this book in high school; now read it again with greater understanding. Newly designed and typeset by Waking Lion Press.