Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823),

Walking Home Late At Night
In Which We Get To The Point
Emily Brontė 1818 - 1848
Wuthering Heights
Ghosts and Marvels
Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823),
The Mysteries of Udolpho
The Ghost Stories of Charles Dickens
To Be Read At Dusk

Of Real and Imagined Terrors

Ann Radcliffe 1764-1823

Ann Radcliffe originated the gothic/horror romance genre and many copied her, but few were able to master the genre the way she did. Her books were widely imitated, with varying degrees of success, but too many of the imitators used the props of crumbling castle, desperate villians, monstrous crimes, unspeakable horrosr, and supernatural happenings, but without bothering to create a plot to use them in.
Ann Radcliffe was the most popular writer of her day and almost universally admired. Contemporary critics called her the mighty enchantress and the Shakespeare of romance-writers. Her popularity continued through the nineteenth century; for Keats, she was Mother Radcliffe, and for Scott, the first poetess of romantic fiction.
Little was or is known about Radcliffe's life, so not surprisingly apocryphal stories sprang up about her: it was reported that she had gone mad as a result of her dreadful imagination and been confined to an asylum, that she had been captured as a spy in Paris, or that she ate rare pork chops before retiring to stimulate nightmares for her novels; several times she was falsely rumored to be dead. She seems to have been happily married and to have been fortunate in having a husband who encouraged her to write. There is no explanation for why, at the age of thirty-two, the most popular writer of her times stopped publishing; there is of course much speculation by her biographers and by literary critics. In 1833, years after her death, her husband published some of her poems and a historical romance, Gaston de Blondville; it is not clear that she intended to publish these works. Gaston de Blondville is of interest because it is her only novel that does not explain away the supernatural happenings and because it contains, apparently as a preface, her thoughts on the sublime and Gothic fiction,

The Castles of Athen and Dunbane - 1789. e-text

The Mysteries of Udolpho - 1794. e-text

The Italian - 1797. a complete e-text

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