The Romance of the Forest is a Gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe that was first published in 1791. It combines an air of mystery and suspense with an examination of the tension between hedonism and morality. The novel was her first major, popular success, going through four editions in its first three years. Furthermore, "this novel also established her reputation as the first among her era's writers of romance. There is surprisingly little essential difference in characterization, Gothic dÉcor, or plot outline to distinguish this novel from its predecessors. Its superior merit lies in the expansive and subtle use which the author makes of these elements so that the characters are relatively well realized, the Gothic dÉcor is blended into the sensibility of the reader rather than imposed upon it, and the plot is an intricate and often dramatic series of congruent incidents and living tableaux, not a congeries of barely related and stillborn scenes and surprises.” Most critics who have given any attention to Mrs. Radcliffe as a novelist have decided that she is important chiefly for her use of the supernatural, and for her emphasis upon landscape. Her use of the supernatural and emphasis upon landscape can clearly be seen throughout this novel. We see the aforementioned when confronted with the principal character in the novel, Adeline. She is a "highly-interesting character, whom the writer conducts through a series of alarming situations, and hair-breadth escapes, in which she has skillfully contrived to hold the reader’s curiosity continually in suspense, and at the same time to keep their feelings in a state of perpetual agitation.” (wikipedia.org)
The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797) is a Gothic novel written by the English author Ann Radcliffe. It is the last book Radcliffe published during her lifetime (she would go on to write the novel Gaston de Blondeville, which was published posthumously in 1826). The Italian has a dark, mysterious and somber tone, and concerns the themes of love, devotion and persecution by the Holy Inquisition. The novel also deals with issues prevalent at the time of the French Revolution, such as religion, aristocracy, and nationality. Radcliffe's renowned use of veiled imagery is considered to have reached its height of sophistication and complexity in The Italian; concealment and disguise are central motifs of the novel. In line with late 18th-century sensibility and its parallel fetishisation of the sublime and the sentimentally pastoral, the heightened emotional states of Radcliffe's characters are often reflected through the pathetic fallacy. The novel is noted for its extremely effective antagonist, Father Schedoni. (wikipedia.org)
A Sicilian Romance is a gothic novel by Ann Radcliffe. It was her second published work, and was first published anonymously in 1790.
The plot concerns the turbulent history of the fallen aristocrats of the house of Mazzini, on the northern shore of Sicily, as related by a tourist who becomes intrigued by the stories of a monk he meets in the ruins of their doomed castle.
The introduction to the 'Worlds Classics' edition notes that in this novel "Ann Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the idol of the Romantics". The novel explores the "cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and convents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powerful aristocracy"
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