"Rappaccini's Daughter" as First Published (1844)
This story was first published under the title "The Writings of Aubépine, Rappaccini's Daughter," in The United States Magazine and Democratic Review 15 (December 1844), pp. 545-60. When reprinted in Mosses from an Old Manse, the strange prologue was omitted and the title became just "Rappaccini's Daughter." My copy of that issue of The United States Magazine and Democratic Review is bound with the whole year's run of the magazine, so that we can trace Hawthorne's appearance in the flow of literature over that period. In that year, the magazine published "A Select Party" (later placed before "Young Goodman Brown" in Mosses), and "A Book of Autographs" (see below). As in the case of New England Magazine, we also have to access the earliest printed edition of this story through the Cornell University digital archive: http://digital.library.cornell.edu/u/usde/usde.1844.html.
Strategy 1--read what readers would have encountered just before "R's D": In the magazine version, we can see Hawthorne's story as the 1844 American readers first would have encountered it, following a short poem, "The Prisoner," by the now-forgotten "R.S.S. Andros." The poem is about a female prisoner who yearns for release from her isolation. How might that affect readers' response to various passages in "R's D"? In the fourth stanza, the "prisoner" and "prison" are revealed to be a familiar Christian allegory about the body and soul, and about love and lust. How might that affect readers' response to "R's D"?
Strategy 2--read what readers would have encountered just after "R's D": "R's D" appears in The United States Magazine only two items away from "Marginalia," the second part of a two-part essay by the young American literary critic and author, "Edgar A. Poe." Poe writes specifically about Hawthorne's work ("Drowne's Wooden Image") on pages 585-6, where he makes some interesting charges against Hawthorne amid what appears to be praise of his talent. Look at the surrounding passages, short notes about books Poe was reading, and get a sense of Poe's tone and attitude as a literary critic. (Hint: he could be savage, and was extremely proud of his learning.) Poe's literary opinions might also have affected Hawthorne, because the first part of this abrasive essay ran in the November issue of The United States Magazine while Hawthorne was presumably preparing the unusual preface of "R's D" found only in the magazine edition of the story. Look at the table of contents and see what the editor called Hawthorne's story. (Hint: it's not "R's D" there, though that title is preserved below the preface to the story, itself.) In that issue, they ran near "A Book of Autographs," Hawthorne's non-fiction essay about a bound collection of Revolutionary War letters he is analyzing for the characters of their authors (Washington, Adams, Franklin, etc.). So we know Hawthorne would have been aware of the nature of Poe's criticism and would have anticipated that his next stories would appear in the same volume with part two of "Marginalia," though he probably did not know for certain that Poe would take aim at him. You can read that edition at Cornell University's digitized archive of the magazine (http://digital.library.cornell.edu/n/nwen/index.html.