True Classics

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter has apparently long stymied filmmakers, because there has yet to be a cinematic version that fully adapts the material without changing the tone or intent of the author’s original novel.

Not to be overly sarcastic about it or anything.

It’s a damn shame, too, because Letter is truly a masterwork of American literature. The story of Hester Prynne, whose clandestine affair with retiring and troubled minister Arthur Dimmesdale leads to her giving birth to a daughter, Pearl, out of wedlock (and thus being forced to bear the titular “A” on her chest as a symbol of her sin), has been studied, analyzing, critiqued, and otherwise extensively examined in the 160+ years since its initial publication. It’s a book that I first encountered in high school, one that I liked but never fully appreciated until graduate school (in fact–humblebrag alert!–my very first conference presentation…

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