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The Scarlet Letter: A critical review

Littlefield, David; Sara, Rachel


Rachel Sara
Associate Professor in Low Energy Design in Architecture


Nathaniel Hawthorn’s 19th century romance The Scarlet Letter centres on the simple transgression of adultery and its social consequences. Hawthorn’s narrative and story-telling skill, however, is far from simple; the author manages to subtly and cleverly set the tale within a framework of other transgressions. Ideas of space and other social constructions such including language and belief systems are tested and subverted in this description of a 17th century Puritan settlement. In this paper David Littlefield and Rachel Sara set out the transgressive qualities of this classic American text, putting it into the context of the theme Body + Space and demonstrating how the book pre-figures much 20th century thinking on the subject.


Littlefield, D., & Sara, R. (2014). The Scarlet Letter: A critical review. Architecture and Culture, 2(3), 403-416.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2014
Online Publication Date Apr 28, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2014
Journal Architecture & Culture
Print ISSN 2050-7828
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Issue 3
Pages 403-416
Keywords body, space, transgression, fiction, text, language
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Architecture & Culture is a journal produced on behalf of the Architectural Humanities Research Association. Originally it was published by Bloomsbury. It is now published by Taylor & Francis. The issue of the journal outlined here was jointly edited by David Littlefield and Rachel Sara, published by Bloomsbury. This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Architecture & Culture on 01 November 2014, available online:


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