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The Mysteries of Udolpho

Ann Ward Radcliffe

Book Overview: 

In The Mysteries of Udolpho, one of the most famous and popular gothic novels, Ann Radcliffe took a new tack from her predecessors and portrayed her heroine’s inner life, creating an atmosphere thick with fear, and providing a gripping plot that continues to thrill readers today. – The Mysteries of Udolpho, set in Europe in the year 1584, 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, after being forced to travel through France and Italy. Inside the castle, she must cope with an unwanted suitor, Montoni’s threats, and the wild imaginings and terrors that threaten to overwhelm her.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Her aunt immediately moved on, but not before Valancourt had reached them, who bowed lowly to Madame Cheron, and with an earnest and dejected look to Emily, with whom, notwithstanding all her effort, an air of more than common reserve prevailed. The presence of Madame Cheron prevented Valancourt from remaining, and he passed on with a countenance, whose melancholy reproached her for having increased it. Emily was called from the musing fit, into which she had fallen, by the Count Bauvillers, who was known to her aunt.

'I have your pardon to beg, ma'amselle,' said he, 'for a rudeness, which you will readily believe was quite unintentional. I did not know, that the Chevalier was your acquaintance, when I so freely criticised his dancing.' Emily blushed and smiled, and Madame Cheron spared her the difficulty of replying. 'If you mean the person, who has just passed us,' said she, 'I can assure you he is no acquaintance of either mine, or ma'amselle St. Aubert's: I. . . Read More

Community Reviews

“A well-informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness. Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking; and the temptations of the world withou

Emily St. Aubert has it all, loving parents a nice little charming estate she lives on in southern France, Anno Domini 1584. The young gentlewoman adores walking around her father's land looking at the nearby exotic Pyrenees Mountains, watching the calm Garonne River flow by hearing it making soft n

A hefty slice of eighteenth century gothic famously satirised by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey. It is set in the late sixteenth century and follows the fortunes (and misfortunes) of Emily St Aubert. It is set in southern France and northern Italy and there are lots of descriptions of majestic land

I rarely read the same author back-to-back, but after devouring A Sicilian Romance and The Romance of the Forest I haven't wanted a break from Ann Radcliffe. Her writing is breezy and enthralling—uncommon for 18th century literature. Perfect for the 2020 bookshelf, when there's no better distraction

If I could describe this book using only two words, they would be verbose and melancholy!
Ann Radcliffe’s writing is breathtaking and enchanting! At first I was swept away by the lyricism of each scene, but after a while the repetition and continuation of these long descriptions started to take me o

4/5stars

Take a shot every time Emily cries and you’ll be dead by page 15. fantastically ridiculous.

I'm reading this book again to get back in touch with some of the early English gothic novels. I'm struck, in these early pages, by the extreme romanticization and lush description of nature. The natural world has a sort of earthy goodness that draws Emily and her father in. By contrast, the charact

This mammoth, prolix book--the first wildly popular gothic novel--is indifferently written, poorly planned,and inconsistent in purpose and tone. Radcliffe's style is irritating, filled with continual redundancies, superfluous commas and dialogue that is often stilted and improbable. The plot doesn't

3.5 rounded up.

Ye Gads! I started this book back in July, had to table it, and started over the first week in December. Still took me a month to finish. I have to say, what Ms. Radcliffe could have used the most in her writing career was the services of a good editor. I can appreciate long descript

"'You speak like a heroine,' said Montoni, contemptuously; 'we shall see if you can suffer like one.'"

And if all the sentences in this book were half as good as that one, we'd be looking at a five-star book here, but sadly the rest of it is just hella boring. You might be reading a lame book if you

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