Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Audiobook Wednesday: Rappaccini's Daughter

"Rappaccini's Daughter", by Nathaniel Hawthorne, represents one of the earliest science fiction stories. Adapting an explorer's tale from India, it gave birth to a number of "Poisoned Garden" stories, where literary naturalists would use the poisoned garden as a vehicle to investigate the scientific progress of the age. Fans of weird fiction and science fiction will also see the influence of "Rappaccini's Daughter" in C. L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories. As foundational to science fiction as Frankenstein and The Castle of Otranto are, Hawthorne's novelette is a key to understanding not only weird fiction, but the American tradition of the short story.

The complete text can be found here, hosted by Columbia University.


  1. Nathan
    How so? Could you elaborate and did that story influence Poe?
    Sounds interesting so I'm curious about how influential it is for American weird


    1. I'll be taking a closer look this weekend, but Moore's "Black Thirst" and "Scarlet Dream" both follow the general formula of "Rappaccini's Daughter", including the love interest kept inside the poisoned garden...and dies when she tries to leave.

      Hawthorne was frequently reprinted in Weird Tales, so not only were his works part of the tradition of American short stories that led to Weird Tales, it was part of the current influences for those writers.