It was not love, although her rich beauty was a madness to him; nor horror, even while he fancied her spirit to be imbued with the same baneful essence that seemed to pervade her physical frame; but a wild offspring of both love and horror that had each parent in it, and burned like one and shivered like the other. Giovanni knew not what to dread; still less did be know what to hope; yet hope and dread kept a continual warfare in his breast, alternately vanquishing one another and starting up afresh to renew the content. Blessed are ail simple emotions, be they dark or bright! It is the lurid intermixture of the two that produces the illuminating blaze of the infernal regions. These four spellbinding stories are variations on the struggle between good and evil; prefigurations, one might say, of The Scarlet Letter.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in the historically rich and guilt-ridden city of Salem; one of his ancestors did indeed persecute the Salem witches. After a first novel in 1828, be devoted himself to increasingly successful short stories. In 1850, The Scarlet Letter brought him fame at last.