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A Sicilian Romance

Ann Ward Radcliffe

Book Overview: 

A Sicilian Romance is a Gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe. The plot concerns the turbulent history of the fallen aristocrats of the house of Mazzini, on the northern shore of Sicily, as related by a tourist who becomes intrigued by the stories of a monk he meets in the ruins of their doomed castle.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Ferdinand descended a large vaulted hall; he crossed it towards a low arched door, which was left half open, and through which streamed a ray of light. The door opened upon a narrow winding passage; he entered, and the light retiring, was quickly lost in the windings of the place. Still he went on. The passage grew narrower, and the frequent fragments of loose stone made it now difficult to proceed. A low door closed the avenue, resembling that by which he had entered. He opened it, and discovered a square room, from whence rose a winding stair-case, which led up the south tower of the castle. Ferdinand paused to listen; the sound of steps was ceased, and all was profoundly silent. A door on the right attracted his notice; he tried to open it, but it was fastened. He concluded, therefore, that the person, if indeed a human being it was that bore the light he had seen, had passed up the tower. After a momentary hesitation, he determined to ascend the stair-case, but its ru. . . Read More

Community Reviews

SICILIAN ROMANCE is a tiny Gothic jewel. But I'm an Ann Radcliffe fangirl, so that's just my opinion. ;)

She's not for everyone. I'm well aware of this--yet I still remember That Moment when her flamboyant, overblown prose clicked in my brain. I'd just begun exporing Old Skool "trash" literature,...more

The Classics Club Spin spun me A Sicilian Romance,and I’m very pleased that it did.

I’ve always hoped that I would fall in love with Ann Radcliffe’s novels, with the coming together of the gothic and the romantic, but I was scared to take the first step and so I needed that spin.

It was love, of co...more

Julia and Emilia Mazzini are happy with their lot in life. Having lost their mother at an early age, they dwell alone in the castle Mazzini, with their governess and companion Madame de Menon to look after them. Their father, a marquis, prefers to dwell elsewhere with their brother, Ferdinand, an...more

I am sure that the eagle-eyed amongst you are noticing a theme here, but I have wanted to read Radcliffe’s work for such a long time, and thought that placing A Sicilian Romance onto my Classics Club list would be a nudge in the right direction. First published in 1790, the novel is firmly implan...more

Ufff, I have done it. I have finished it. I wasn't sure of this to the end. I am sure that I will not read more of Ann Radcliffe.

I can imagine that she was famous and loved in her times. Her novels were something new then. And I can simply believe that she was extremely popular.

Nonetheless, two...more

The only interesting part was when the father and the priest verbally batted it out, auguring who had the most power over Julia via morality. So who had the most power? The father or The Father? Of course while they argued, she escaped, so the real answer is neither of them.

There is a massive difference between reading something for fun and reading something for class. This is the second book I have read for my Gothic Literature course and I am having trouble finding the words to describe this book without it sounding like an essay.
I really enjoyed reading this book...more

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was considered the pioneer of gothic literature. The Castle of Otranto (1764) by Horace Walpole came first but Radcliffe legitimized the genre by her brilliant use of the supernatural elements and thorough handling of the inexplicable phenomena that, critics said, made r...more

Oh, how I enjoy a good gothic story in autumn and winter!
Although I like the genre I haven't read much of Ann Radcliffe. I used to read these kind of novels when I was a teenager, but at the time my English wasn't fluent enough and I had to rely on translations. The local bookstore or library did...more

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