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The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe

The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794)

by Ann Radcliffe

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,393534,295 (3.36)2 / 409
`Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted. Rreflections brought only regret, and anticipation terror.'Such is the state of mind in which Emily St. Aubuert - the orphaned heroine of Ann Radcliffe's 1794 gothic Classic, The Mysteries of Udolpho - finds herself after Count Montoni, her evil guardian, imprisions her in his gloomy medieval fortress in the Appenines. Terror is the order of the dayinside the walls of Udolpho, as Emily struggles against Montoni's rapacious schemes and the threat of her own psychological disintegration.A best-seller in its day and a potent influence on Walpole, Poe, and other writers of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Gothic horror, The Mysteries of Udolpho remains one of the most important works in the history of European fiction. As the same time, with its dream-like plot and hallucinatoryrendering of its characters' psychological states, it often seems strangely modern: `permanently avant-garde' in Terry Castle's words, and a profound and fascinating challenge to contemporary readers.… (more)

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English (50)  French (3)  All languages (53)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
3.5 stars for this classic gothic novel.
This was an engaging read and is considered to be one of the first gothic novels. I loved the language, I loved the characters (except for the evil M. Montoni and Madame Charone) , but I did dislike the extensive descriptions of scenery that seemed to go on forever. I'm glad that I read it, but I doubt I will ever tackle it again for a re-read. ( )
  Charrlygirl | Mar 22, 2020 |
Despite the long-winded descriptions and the overuse of the word melancholy, I enjoyed this novel. It's LONG and drags at times but the overall writing is well done and the characters are great. I'm not sure it will ever be a reread for me, but it would still go on my favorite classics list. ( )
  BookishHooker | Dec 16, 2019 |
I might have given this classic 3* if it hadn't had all those unnecessary (and bad) poems! ( )
  leslie.98 | Oct 14, 2019 |
Serious overuse of the word 'melancholy' and pages of long-winded description, but that's what makes the heroine's dangerous adventures among rogues and scoundrels so charming! Still, reading the abridged version would probably not have been a bad idea. ( )
  Zaiga | Sep 23, 2019 |
This is the story about how Emily St Aubert, a modest young woman of good character, overcomes her high principles and decides that maybe her legal guardian is not correct in locking her and her aunt up in his remote Italian castle in order to obtain possession of their estates. Of stalkers suitors she had plenty, and held them off graciously in order to remain free for her pure Valancourt. To love is appropriate, even if acquaintances have observed the object of that love at gaming tables spending money he does not possess.

This novel is ridiculous. I can also see what made people so mad about it. There were long sequences of words where nothing happened except for the stopping of the carriage to take in a view. Radcliffe was opposed to the idea of "horror" over "suspense". She certainly lives up to that idea, unfortunately it all seems to have gotten out of her hands. She drops more hints and secrets and unutterable sights than she can ultimately handle. And yet, I enjoyed reading it. The impossibility of the castle, the bizarre introduction in volume 4 of a new cast all reminded me of that phenomenon of a decade ago: Lost.

'The Mysteries of Udolpho' is the 'Lost' of its century. There are mysteries in each character's past, however innocuous, and a conspiracy of silence until their isn't, and revelations that are hidden until the writer gets around to deciding what those revelations signify or what they will even be. I enjoyed 'Lost' immensely, 'Udolpho' less so, but I can appreciate how millions were drawn into the play and inspired, among many others, the fond ridicule of Jane Austen. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (38 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ann Radcliffeprimary authorall editionscalculated
BarbauldEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bawden, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cass, KarenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castle, TerryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cieślewicz, RomanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Costas Solano, Carlos JoséTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobrée, BonamyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobrée, TerryToim.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobrée, BonamyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dresner, Lisa M.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eenhoorn, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farington, JosephCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
FERREIRA, LeyguardaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Forkel-Liebeskind, MetaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fournier, NicolasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
FREEMAN, R. AUSTINIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garber, FrederickContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hornát, JaroslavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hornátová, EliškaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, JacquelineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, JacquelineIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
LaPointe, CatherineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Larkin, AlisonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDonald, LauraIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niekerk, Sarah vanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Niepokólczycki, WacławTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pechmann, AlexanderEinleitungsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Quayle, StevenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reynolds, S. W.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
RHYS, ERNESTEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riffel, HannesHerausgebersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanna, VittoriaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schweitzer, DarrellIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Varma, Devendra PIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fate sits on these dark battlements, and frowns,
And, as the portals open to receive me,
Her voice, in sullen echoes through the courts,
Tells of a nameless deed.
First words
On the pleasant banks of the Garonne, in the province of Gascony, stood, in the year 1584, the chateau of Monsieur St. Aubert.
Perhaps no work in the history of English fiction has been more often caricatured - trivialized, misread, remade as hearsay - then Ann Radcliffe's late eighteenth-century Gothic classic The Mysteries of Udolpho.
How strange it is, that a fool or a knave, with riches, should be treated with more respect by the world, than a good man, or a wise man in poverty!
...never looking beyond the limits of her own ignorance, she believed she hadnothing to learn. She attracted notice from all; amused some, disgusted others for a moment, and was then forgotten.
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Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted. Reflection brought only regret, and anticipation terror.

Such is the state of mind of Ann Radcliffe's orphaned heroine Emily St Aubert, who finds herself imprisoned in her evil guardian Count Montoni's gloomy medieval fortress in the remote Appenines. Terror is the order of the day inside the walls of Udolpho, as Emily struggles against Montoni's rapacious schemes and the threat of her own psychological disintegration.

A bestseller in its day and a potent influence on Sade, Poe, and other writers, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) is Radcliffe's classic work of Gothic fiction. With its dream-like plot and hallucinatory rendering of its characters' psychological states, the novel remains a profound and fascinating challenge to modern readers.
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Average: (3.36)
0.5 1
1 15
2 53
2.5 17
3 113
3.5 27
4 93
4.5 10
5 55

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140437592, 0141191937

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