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About the Author: Ann Radcliffe

Ann Radcliffe was an English author, a pioneer of the gothic novel.

Radcliffe was born Ann Ward in Holborn. At the age of 22, she married journalist William Radcliffe, owner and editor of the English Chronicle, in Bath in 1788. The couple was childless and, to amuse herself, she began to write fiction, which her husband encouraged.

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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Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry by

Goodreads rating: 3.37

Hardcover, Published in Nov 2008 by Cosimo Classics

ISBN10: 1605202894 | ISBN13: 9781605202891

Page count: 626

Sir Walter Scott esteemed her "the first poetess of romantic fiction." Jane Austen borrowed prodigiously from her-and sent up the steamy overwroughtness of her writing-in Northanger Abbey. British author ANN RADCLIFFE (1764-1823) pioneered the Gothic romance as popular fiction with her 1789 debut novel, The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne, and went on to wild success with further works of demure heroines lost in the perils of supernatural melodrama. In this 1794 thriller, perhaps the quintessential example of the genre and Radcliffe's most popular work, the young and beautiful orphan Emily St. Aubert is imprisoned at sinister Castle Udolpho, and suffers frustrated romance and the hauntings of ghosts. A vital example of early horror and later a profound influence on pulp fiction, this is essential reading for both fans of the genre and those interested in its psychological and thematic development.

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