'Thou and thine, Hester Prynne, belong to me.' With these chilling
words a husband claims his wife after a two-year absence. But the
child she clutches is not his, and Hester must wear a scarlet 'A'
upon her breast, the sin of adultery visible to all. Under an
assumed name her husband begins his search for her lover,
determined to expose what Hester is equally determined to protect.
Defiant and proud, Hester witnesses the degradation of two very
different men, as moral codes and legal imperatives painfully
collide. Set in the Puritan community of seventeenth-century
Boston, The Scarlet Letter also sheds light on the
nineteenth-century in which it was written, as Hawthorne explores
his ambivalent relations with his Puritan forebears. The text of
this edition is taken from the Centenary Edition of Hawthorne's
works, the most authoritative critical edition.