ABSTRACT

Between 1842 and 1845, Nathanial Hawthorne and Sophia Peabody Hawthorne called Old Manse home as they began their newly wedded life in Concord, Massachusetts; the stories Hawthorne would then publish in Mosses from an Old Manse and Other Stories (1846), consist of tales written and edited within the walls of Old Manse, therefore impressing the architecture of the structure—and its gardens—on to the collected short stories. Looking to tales like “Rappaccini’s Daughter” and “The Birthmark,” I intend to triangulate these ecogothic narratives with the physical built form of Old Manse and its gardens, along with the social function and domestic space(s) within both fictional narratives and Old Manse’s rooms and outdoor spaces. If gardening aids the newlyweds in defining domesticity and home in Concord, then how does the ecogothic present an alternative form of domesticity—of cultivating dangerous and poisonous gardens? As previous scholars have posited landscape itself as being a cultural artifact worthy of interrogation, I aim to provide an additional archival consideration of the Hawthornes’ material, lived interaction with Old Manse as creating both current and counter-current narratives of the environment and ecology within Mosses from an Old Manse and Other Stories.

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