The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe
(Penguin Classics)

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Synopsis

This was the most popular novel of Radcliffe's time and Radcliffe's portrayal of her heroine's inner life raised the Gothic romance to a new level. The atmosphere of fear and the gripping plot continue to thrill today. This is the story of the orphaned Emily St Aubert who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the Castle of Udolpho by her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Here she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors which threaten to overwhelm her.
 

About Ann Radcliffe

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Ann Radcliffe was born in 1764, the daughter of a London tradesman. In 1786 she married William Radcliffe, later the manager of The English Chronicle. She set her first novel, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne (1789), in Scotland, and it received little critical or public attention. Using more exotic locations in Europe, notably the 'sublime' landscapes of the Alps and Pyrenees, she wrote four more novels within ten years: A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolfo (1794) and The Italian (1797), as well as a volume of descriptions of her travels in Holland, Germany and the Lake District. The success of The Romance of the Forest established Radcliffe as the leading exponent of the historical Gothic Romance. Her later novels met with even greater attention, and produced many imitators (and, famously, Jane Austen's burlesque of The Romance of the Forest in Northanger Abbey), and influenced the work of Sir Walter Scott and Mary Wollstonecraft. The Italian was the last book she published in her lifetime; a novel, Gaston de Blondeville, and St. Albans Abbey: A Metrical Tale were published posthumously. Despite the sensational nature of her romances and their enormous success, Radcliffe and her husband lived quietly-she made only one foreign journey and barely glimpsed the Alps that she wrote about so vividly. She died in 1823 from respiratory problems probably caused by pneumonia.
 
Published June 18, 1998 by Oxford University Press, UK. 736 pages
Genres: Romance, Horror, Literature & Fiction, History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Mysteries of Udolpho

Zimbio

Some readers, indeed, will know Radcliffe’s novel only as hearsay: as that delightfully ‘horrid’ book - full of castles and crypts and murdered wives - pressed upon Catherine Morland, the gullible young heroine of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (1817), by her Bath friend Isabella Thorpe.

Oct 26 2008 | Read Full Review of The Mysteries of Udolpho (Pen...

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