Nathaniel Hawthorne's gripping psychological drama concerns the Pyncheon family, a dynasty founded on pious theft, who live for generations under a dead man's curse until their house is finally exorcised by love. Colonel Pyncheon does well in denouncing Old Matthew: he founds a New England dynasty and builds a remarkable mansion; but on its opening day he is found dead, slaked in his own blood. By 1840, that dynasty is almost spent; amid the dust and decay of the Seven Gables, Clifford and Hepzibah believe in their own continued nobility as much as they believe in the mysterious curse still tracking the Pyncheons.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804, in Salem, Massachusetts, where his ancestors had been prominent since the sixteen hundreds. He went to Bowdoin College in Maine, where his classmated included Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longgellow. His novels, which he called romances, include: The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun. While on a journey to restore his health, he died in Plymouth , New Hampshire, on May 19, 1864. He was buried on May 23, 1846, in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord.