A key figure in the development of American literature, Nathaniel Hawthorne was also profoundly influenced by his ancestors and the Christianity that underscored their Puritan heritage. A literary classic, The Scarlet Letter presents a profound meditation on the nature of sin, repentance, and redemption, and on how such Christian concepts may be integrated into American democracy. This edition features an introduction by Aaron Urbanczyk, chair of the literature department at Southern Catholic College, that explores themes in "The Custom-House" that guide the reader's interpretation of the text of the novel, and several critical articles on the work's major symbols and Christian themes. Mary R. Reichardt, the editor of this edition, is a professor of literature in the Catholic Studies department at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul MN.
The Ignatius Critical Editions represent a tradition-oriented alternative to popular textbook series such as the Norton Critical Editions or Oxford World Classics, and are designed to concentrate on traditional readings of the Classics of world literature. While many modern critical editions have succumbed to the fads of modernism and post-modernism, this series will concentrate on tradition-oriented criticism of these great works.
Edited by acclaimed literary biographer, Joseph Pearce, the Ignatius Critical Editions will ensure that traditional moral readings of the works are given prominence, instead of the feminist, or deconstructionist readings that often proliferate in other series of 'critical editions'. As such, they represent a genuine extension of consumer-choice, enabling educators, students and lovers of good literature to buy editions of classic literary works without having to 'buy into' the ideologies of secular fundamentalism.
The series is ideal for anyone wishing to understand great works of western civilization, enabling the modern reader to enjoy these classics in the company of some of the finest literature professors alive today.