Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Office of the Scarlet Letter. New York: Transaction Publishers, 2013.
In this short, dense book, Bercovitch uses Hawthorne’s novel to critique the idea of “Americanness.” He considers the ways in which Hawthorne’s text impacted not just American literature, but broader cultural ideas and concepts of national identity.
Berlant, Lauren. The Anatomy of a National Fantasy: Hawthorne, Utopia, and Everyday Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.
This book offers a scholarly analysis of Hawthorne’s novel that combines feminist and political critique. Berlant considers how Hawthorne engaged with both ideas and utopian fantasies of what it meant to be American and projected these questions onto the gendered struggles of Hester Prynne.
Colacurccio, Michael. “Footsteps of Anne Hutchinson: The Context of the Scarlet Letter.” ELH 39.3 (1972): 459-94.
In this essay, Michael Colaruccio studies the role Anne Hutchinson played in Hawthorne's creation of Hester Prynne. It contains a great deal of valuable information about Hawthorne's long-standing interest in Hutchinson.
Dryden, Edgar. The Form of American Romance. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.
This book makes a case for the "American Romance" as a distinctive genre in American literary history. For Dryden, the romance is unique because it encourages the reader to interact with the author in a way realist novels typically don't.
Last, Suzan. “Hawthorne’s Feminine Voices: Reading ‘The Scarlet Letter’ as a Woman” The Journal of Narrative Technique 27.3 (1997): 349-76.
Last’s essay is both an analysis of The Scarlet Letter as well as a personal account of the author's experience reading the novel. She discusses masculine and feminine elements in the novel's voice and structure.
Miller, Edwin Haviland. Salem Is My Dwelling Place: Life of Nathaniel Hawthorne. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991.
This classic biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne traces the author's life from his birth to his death. It gives special attention to the role of place in Hawthorne's life and work.