This volume brings together some of the representative high points of Hawthorne criticism, ranging chronologically from the 1940s to the present. The essays take a variety of critical and theoretical approaches: some ask biographical questions, while others examine Hawthorne's psychology; still others look at his historical and literary contexts. There are essays on mythology, on politics, and on theology. Together, they trace Hawthorne's reception through changing critical fashions, and illuminate some of the central concerns in Hawthorne criticism: the place of sin and providence in his fiction, the genres in which he wrote, and the shape of his career as a whole. None of the essays presumes to be the final word on the subject. Instead, each is valuable for offering a starting point for thinking about Hawthorne's work, and for suggesting avenues for further exploration.