Rappaccini's Daughter

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ReadHowYouWant.com, Jan 1, 2006 - Drama
2 Reviews
A classic tale first published in December 1844. It is the story of a young student of medicine who suffers the consequences of ignoring the warning of his adviser and falls in love with the beautiful Beatrice, confined to a locked garden by her father. "Rappaccini's Daughter" has all the attributes of Hawthorne's fiction: allegory, symbolism, ambiguity and fantasy. Spell-binding!

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User Review  - Soireb - LibraryThing

To be honest, when I started reading the story I kept dozing off, to the point that I just had to put it aside and take a nap. Afterwards I picked it continue it. Although it is a bit predictable, it turns out to be entertaining and gripping towards end. Read full review

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WE DO NOT remember to have seen any translated specimens of the
productions of M. de l’Aub╚pine; a fact the less to be wondered at, as
his very name is unknown to many of his own countrymen, as well
to the student of foreign literature. As a writer, he seems to occupy an
unfortunate position between the Transcendentalists (who, under one
name or another, have their share in all the current literature of the
world), and the great body of pen-and-ink men who address the intellect
and sympathies of the multitude. If not too refined, at all events
too remote, too shadowy and unsubstantial in his modes of development,
to suit the taste of the latter class, and yet too popular to satisfy
the spiritual or metaphysical requisitions of the former, he must necessarily
find himself without an audience; except here and there an individual,
or possibly an isolated clique. His writings, to do them justice,
are not altogether destitute of fancy and originality; they might have
won him greater reputation but for an inveterate love of allegory,
which is apt to invest his plots and characters with the aspect of scenery
and people in the clouds, and to steal away the human warmth out of
his conceptions. His fictions are sometimes historical, sometimes of the
present day, and sometimes, so far as can be discovered, have little or
no reference either to time or space. In any case, he generally contents
himself with a very slight embroidery of outward manners,--the faintest
possible counterfeit of real life,—and endeavors to create an interest
by some less obvious peculiarity of the subject. Occasionally, a breath
of nature, a rain-drop of pathos and tenderness, or a gleam of humor,
will find its way into the midst of his fantastic imagery, and make us
feel as if, after all, we were yet within the limits of our native earth. We
will only add to this very cursory notice, that M. de l’Aub╚pine’s productions, if the reader chance to take them in precisely the proper
point of view, may amuse a leisure hour as well as those of a brighter
man; if otherwise, they can hardly fail to look excessively like nonsense.
Our author is voluminous; he continues to write and publish with as
much praiseworthy and indefatigable prolixity, as if his efforts were
crowned with the brilliant success that so justly attends those of Eugene
Sue. His first appearance was by a collection of stories, in a long series
of volumes, entitled “Comes deux fois racont╚es.” The titles of some
of his more recent works (we quote from memory) are as follows:—
”Le Voyage C╚leste ‡ Chemin de Fer,” 3 tom. 1838. “Le nouveau P╦re
Adam et la nouvelle M╦re Eve,” 2 tom. 1839. “Roderic; ou le Serpent ‡
l’estomac,” 2 tom. 1840. “Le Culte du Feu,” a folio volume of ponderous
research into the religion and ritual of the old Persian Ghebers,
published in 1841. “La Soir╚e du Chateau en Espagne,” 1 tom. 8vo.
1842; and “L’Artiste du Beau; ou le Papillon M╚canique,” 5 tom. 4to.
1843. Our somewhat wearisome perusal of this startling catalogue of
volumes has left behind it a certain personal affection and sympathy,
though by no means admiration, for M. de l’Aub╚pine; and we would
fain do the little in our power towards introducing him favorably to the
American public. The ensuing tale is a translation of his “Beatrice; ou la
Belle Empoisonneuse,” recently published in “La Revue Anti-Aristocratique.”
This journal, edited by the Comte de Bearhaven, has, for
some years past, led the defence of liberal principles and popular rights,
with a faithfulness and ability worthy of all praise.

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Page 4 - ... art, but so wofully shattered that it was impossible to trace the original design from the chaos of remaining fragments. The water, however, continued to gush and sparkle into the sunbeams as cheerfully as ever. A little gurgling sound ascended to the young man's window, and made him feel as if a fountain were an immortal spirit, that sung its song unceasingly, and without heeding the vicissitudes around it; while one century embodied it in marble, and another scattered the perishable garniture...

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About the author (2006)

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on July 4, 1804 in Salem, Massachusetts. When he was four years old, his father died. Years later, with financial help from his maternal relatives who recognized his literary talent, Hawthorne was able to enroll in Bowdoin College. Among his classmates were the important literary and political figures Horatio Bridge, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Franklin Pierce. These friends supplied Hawthorne with employment during the early years after graduation while Hawthorne was still establishing himself as a legitimate author. Hawthorne's first novel, Fanshawe, which he self-published in 1828, wasn't quite the success that he had hoped it would be. Not willing to give up, he began writing stories for Twice-Told Tales. These stories established Hawthorne as a leading writer. In 1842, Hawthorne moved to Concord, Massachusetts, where he wrote a number of tales, including "Rappaccini's Daughter" and "Young Goodman Brown," that were later published as Mosses from an Old Manse. The overall theme of Hawthorne's novels was a deep concern with ethical problems of sin, punishment, and atonement. No one novel demonstrated that more vividly than The Scarlet Letter. This tale about the adulterous Puritan Hester Prynne is regarded as Hawthorne's best work and is a classic of American literature. Other famous novels written by Hawthorne include The House of Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. In 1852, Hawthorne wrote a campaign biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce. After Pierce was elected as President of the United States, he rewarded Hawthorne with the Consulship at Liverpool, England. Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, while on a trip with Franklin Pierce.

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