This essay explores the significance of history in Hawthorne's fiction. Hawthornean romance, despite its extensive use of history, emphasizes its distance both from a real world and from ordinary historical discourse. The world, it seems to argue, is more like fantasy than fact, more like story than history. Nonetheless, Hawthorne's historical fictions remain carefully researched, meticulously detailed. The Hawthornean world, so highly subjective, so complexly encoded and symbolic, never dissipates into the fantasy that seems to narrate it. What prevents the evaporation of reality into dream, according to Hawthorne, what ensures the distance between the perceiving self and the world, and hence what restrains the imagination from engulfing a reality that is largely at the mercy of the individual's perceptual authority, is historical consciousness. Hawthorne's historical romances are about a historical imagination that is also a moral imagination.