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Book Title: The Mysteries of Udolpho|
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Reader ratings: 5.7
The author of the book: Ann Radcliffe
Edition: Penguin Classics
Date of issue: April 26th 2001
ISBN 13: 9780140437591
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.77 MB
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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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Read information about the authorAnn Radcliffe was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.
Radcliffe was born Ann Ward, her father, William, was a haberdasher, who moved the family to Bath to manage a china shop in 1772. Her mother was Ann Oates of Chesterfield. Radcliffe occasionally lived with her Uncle, Thomas Bentley, in Chelsea, who was in partnership with a fellow Unitarian, Josiah Wedgwood, maker of the famous Wedgwood china. Sukey, Wedgwood's daughter, also stayed in Chelsea and is Radcliffe's only known childhood companion. Sukey later married Dr Robert Darwin and had a son, Charles Darwin. Although mixing in some distinguished circles, Radcliffe seems to have made little impression in this society and was described by Wedgwood as "Bentley's shy niece".
In 1787, she married the Oxford graduate and journalist William Radcliffe, part-owner and editor of the English Chronicle. He often came home late, and to occupy her time she began to write, and read her work to him when he returned. Theirs was a childless, but seemingly happy marriage. Radcliffe called him her "nearest relative and friend". The money she earned from her novels later allowed them to travel together, along with their dog, Chance.
She published The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne in 1789. It set the tone for the majority of her work, which tended to involve innocent, but heroic young women who find themselves in gloomy, mysterious castles ruled by even more mysterious barons with dark pasts.
Her works were extremely popular among the upper class and the growing middle class, especially among young women. Her works included A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1796). She published a travelogue, A Journey Through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany in 1795.
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 Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey, as well as influencing the works of Sir Walter Scott.
Stylistically, Radcliffe was noted for her vivid descriptions of exotic and sinister locales, though in reality the author had rarely or never visited the actual locations. Shy by nature, she did not encourage her fame and abandoned literature as a pursuit.
She died on February 7, 1823 from respiratory problems probably caused by pneumonia. She was buried in Saint George's Church, Hanover Square in London.
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