Welcome to this week’s official regendered novel release, The Scarlet Letter, available now for purchase from Amazon. The original novel, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was one of the first great American works of literature. Set in Puritanical New England, the regendered version follows a man who commits adultery, resulting in a child born out of wedlock, a grave sin in the 16th century. Refusing to name the mother of the child, he is ostracized from his community, forced to raise his son alone, on the outskirts of the town.
I’ve looked forward to working on The Scarlet Letter for some time now. I was particularly drawn to the idea of creating a story that now shows a male suffering from the same social stigma women have had to for so many centuries. This is precisely the sort of situation the project hopes to examine and explore.
The novel had its usual quirks when regendering, which I discuss further in the author’s note, but there’s one particular issue I wanted to mention. Central the original novel is the main character’s affair and subsequent pregnancy, even though it isn’t actually depicted. The regendered version requires a significant leap of faith on the part of the reader, since they need to believe it’s possible for a mother to hide her pregnancy and childbirth, particularly in a small, tight knit community in the 16th century.
To be honest, I’m still a little unsure how I want to handle these situations when regendering, so I’m using this novel to test the waters. In this case, I’ve chosen to ignore it for the most part, relying on the reader to accept such an improbable premise in order experience the rest of the story fully. It’s not an ideal solution but I hope you still find it an enlightening read.