Twice-told Tales

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Twice-Told Tales is a short story collection in two volumes by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The first was published in the spring of 1837, and the second in 1842. The stories had all been previously published in magazines and annuals, hence the name.

The title, Twice-Told Tales, was based on a line from William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John (Act 3, scene 4): "Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man." The quote referenced may also be Hawthorne's way of acknowledging a belief that many of his stories were ironic retellings of familiar tropes. The book was published by the American Stationers' Company on March 6, 1837; its cover price was one dollar. Hawthorne had help in promoting the book from Elizabeth Peabody. She sent copies of the collection to William Wordsworth as well as to Horace Mann, hoping that Mann could get Hawthorne a job writing stories for schoolchildren.

In 1963, United Artists released a horror trilogy film titled Twice-Told Tales, with content very loosely adapted from three Hawthorne stories. The three stories were: "Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," which actually was one of the "Twice-Told Tales"; the Hawthorne novel The House of the Seven Gables; and another short story, "Rappaccini's Daughter." The film is regarded as a classic of sorts in the field of low-budget Hollywood horror, with Vincent Price, Sebastian Cabot, and Beverly Garland delivering good performances.


The gray champion -- The wedding knell -- The minister's black veil -- The Maypole of Merry Mount -- The gentle boy -- Mr. Higginbotham's catastrophe -- Wakefield -- The great carbuncle -- David Swan -- The hollow of the three hills -- Dr. Heidegger's experiment -- Legends of the Province House: Howe's masquerade. Edward Randolph's portrait. Lady Eleanore's mantle. Old Esther Dudley -- The ambitious guest -- Peter Goldthwaite's treasure -- The Shaker bridal -- Endicott and the Red Cross.