"it has been as dear an object as any, in my literary efforts, to be of some importance in their eyes"
Frontispieces from some of Hawthorne's earlier publications
Public DomainFrontispieces from some of Hawthorne's earlier publications

Until the publication of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne’s work was, as Edgar Allan Poe remarked, “scarcely recognized by the press or by the public, and when noticed at all, is noticed merely to be damned by faint praise.” Hawthorne’s mournful interjection about his lack of appreciation by his fellow townspeople in a piece which seems calculated to alienate a great number of them is typical of his ambivalent attitude towards the reading public. Holding no very great opinion of them, he nonetheless yearned for their acceptance and shuttled between castigating himself for a perceived lack of talent and resenting them for failing to appreciate his writing.