"Rappaccini’s Daughter" is an 1844 science fiction novelette by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is about a young man who discovers the strange daughter of a mad doctor.
Giovanni Guasconti has come to attend the university at Padua, in northern Italy. Being a student he rents a modest room that happens to overlook a garden full of beautiful but deadly flowers. It is here that Giovanni is captivated by the exquisite young lady who helps her father tend the garden. (Who wouldn’t be, right?) As he learns more about the dark and foreboding gardener, Giovanni discovers that the crazy old man is a highly competitive doctor who is willing to experiment on just about anything for the sake of science – and that is bad news for Giovanni!
Some Juicy Tidbits About This Story
- Word count: 11,372 (16 pages)
- Did you know that the DC Comics character Poison Ivy was partially based on Rappaccini’s Daughter? Yep. Learn more about this famous story at Wikipedia.
Where To Find Rappaccini’s Daughter
- This short story first appeared in Hawthorne’s 1848 collection Mosses from an Old Manse and Other Stories.
- You can read "Rappaccini’s Daughter" for free online at Sam Houston State University.
- It is also included in the classic book Hawthorne’s Short Stories.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked "Rappaccini’s Daughter" then be sure to read about her continuing adventures in the excellent modern story The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss.