This article argues that Wharton—an influential presence in the design and architectural world thanks to such publications as The Decoration of Houses—invented the title of her 1929 novel, Hudson River Bracketed, for the purpose of using architecture to explore the precarity of the past. Herein, precarity is used to convey risk, decay, destruction, and instability. Her invention thus emphasizes not only the continued significance of architecture to Wharton; it underscores her awareness of and engagement with the risks and destruction possible in the space of the past. Accordingly, this article seeks to interpret Hudson as a ghost story, one that centers on her haunted Hudson River Bracketed house, the Willows. While most critics envisage the Willows as a venerable monument of the past, this article analyzes the Willows as operating within a Gothic framework borrowed from the likes of Poe. As the author suggests through a history of Wharton’s construction of the architectural title, its more sinister meanings, and its connection with the past—paired with image analyses and close readings—Wharton ultimately uses the Gothic trope of the haunted house as a way of more personally reflecting on her own position as an aging writer in her post–Age of Innocence career.

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