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Author photo. Anne Ward Radcliffe. Wikimedia Commons.

Anne Ward Radcliffe. Wikimedia Commons.

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Mrs. Radcliffe was the most popular writer of her day! She was born Ann Ward and in 1787 married journalist William Radcliffe. She created six spooky novels with a blend of the supernatural, morals, romantic descriptions of landscape, and drama that British readers just could not get enough of. Although she was not the first to write Gothic fiction, she's considered a pioneer of the genre and a major influence on many other writers. (See for example, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey.)
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