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'In Character' On the Air

On Air: Hester Prynne

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Hester help us: No, Demi Moore's portrayal of Hawthorne's heroine isn't a major part of Andrea Seabrook's essay. Hollywood Pictures hide caption

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Hollywood Pictures

We promised you a Scarlet Letter essay, and boy, did we deliver. Video clips (from two, count 'em two, movies separated by 60 years), plus half a dozen readings from Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel.

A note for audiobook connoisseurs: If you think you recognize the superb consonants of actress Jennifer Mendenhall, who came to NPR last week to record the Scarlet Letter passages we used in Andrea Seabrook's piece (plus the extended excerpts we're serving up on the story page), it might be because you've taken a road trip or two with Mendenhall's alter ego, Kate Reading. She's recorded Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series, among other titles.

Or, if you're a theater geek, you may have seen her in Ethan McSweeney's new staging of Shaw's Major Barbara, running now at the Shakespeare Theatre Company here in D.C. She's playing the Salvation Army boss lady, Mrs. Baines.

Either way, enjoy.

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