The Mysteries of Udolpho: A Romance

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Penguin, 2001 - Fiction - 653 pages
With The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe raised the Gothic romance to a new level and inspired a long line of imitators. Portraying her heroine's inner life, creating a thick atmosphere of fear, and providing a gripping plot that continues to thrill readers today, The Mysteries of Udolpho is the story of orphan Emily St. Aubert, who finds herself separated from the man she loves and confined within the medieval castle of her aunt's new husband, Montoni. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni's threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her.

This new edition includes an introduction that discusses the publication and early reception of the novel, the genre of Gothic romance, and Radcliffe's use of history, exotic settings, the supernatural, and poetry.
 

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Review: The Mysteries of Udolpho

User Review  - Garrett Cook - Goodreads

Gothic completists will be tempted to discover the routes of the genre, to devour with gusto the literature that led to Ingrid Pitt's bare bosom, Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd and places where it's ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

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.

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