“Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1844

Rappaccini’s Daughter,” Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1844 — A young man of letters falls in love with Beatrice, the daughter of a reclusive scientist who has confined his daughter to the garden attached to their home.  Despite his mentor’s warnings, the young man pursues Beatrice.  He soon discovers that she’s been reared in a garden of poisonous plants, as part of an experiment, and that she is herself poisonous.  Contact with her seem to transfer the dangerous trait to him, as well.  Alarmed for them both, the young man finds an antidote, but the antidote kills rather than saves Beatrice.

Comments. Online text at Electionic Text Center, University of Virginia.  Often anthologized, with much commentary available.  See, for example, Brian Attebery’s analysis in Decoding Gender in Science Fiction and H. Bruce Franklin’s Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century. Contains references to The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost.  See Wikipedia’s analysis of themes, which include original sin, voyeurism, perception, reality, fantasy, and the “poisonous woman,” a figure from the literature of India.

Author: Wikipedia: “Nathaniel Hawthorne (born Nathaniel Hathorne; July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864) was an American novelist and short story writer.”

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About jennre

Lifelong sf fan, first-time blogger
This entry was posted in 1926 and earlier, eugenics/heredity, favorites, gender, love/family/children, natural/artificial, reality/VR/surreal, religion/soul/spirituality, scientific ethics, senses/space, spectatorship/voyeurism, superhumans, the body, the gaze, the Other, the scientist. Bookmark the permalink.

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