The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho

A Romance

Book - 2001
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'Her heart became faint with terror . . . she saw the door move, and then slowly open' Emily St Aubert with her loving, enlightened parents in exquisitely happy rural isolation. But when she is tragically orphaned, the beautiful young woman is thrown on the mercy of her heartless aunt's sinister new husband. The villainous Signor Montoni has designs upon his wife's fortune, and that of her niece, and imprisons them in the gloomy medieval castle Udolpho. Separated from her beloved Valancourt, Emily must cope with the torments of wild imaginings and terrors, as ghostly omens and attempts upon her virtue and life threaten to overwhelm her. One of the most popular novels of its time, The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) continues to grip readers with its vivid characters, its sublime Alpine settings and its dramatic sense of suspense and danger. In her introduction, Jacqueline Howard discusses the novel's huge success when it was first published, its place as a groundbreaking work of the Gothic genre, and Radcliffe's imaginative use of history, poetry, landscape and the supernatural. This edition also includes further reading, a chronology and notes. Edited with an introduction and notes by JACQUELINW HOWARD
Publisher: London : Penguin, 2001
ISBN: 9780140437591
Branch Call Number: FIC/Radcl 359401 1
Characteristics: xxxix, 653 p. --
Additional Contributors: Howard, Jacqueline


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Jan 29, 2017

I rather surprised myself when I ended up enjoying this book. As far as I could tell it was going to be everything I hated; too much description, twelve words when one would do and a rather pathetic heroine. Which of course might make you wonder why I even bothered to pick it up.....the main reason was that it's mentioned in Northanger Abbey and also it's a classic of its gothic genre. And yes, it's highly descriptive and way too wordy, though the heroine wasn't quite as feeble as I was envisioning, despite the multiple fainting episodes. But I got caught up in the story, I wanted to know who would survive and how the rescue would happen and what would happen to the money.

I took me a couple chapters to acclimatize to the writing. I had to do a little rereading before I started to absorb the story. I will also admit that I skimmed through most of the scenery descriptions, I can't envision the setting through words anyway so it is always a bit lost on me.

I did end up really liking all the creepy guys in the story. Montori is greedy and unscrupulous, Count Morano is a super disturbing stalker type and and DuPont, Bertolini & Verezzi are quite the variety of sub par good or bad guys. To my surprise, the hero Valancourt was the pathetic one. Why she ever liked him....

I would definitely say that it must be read with a view to admiring the absurd and enjoying the genre for the fantastic melodrama it is.

Jan 29, 2017

Extremely wordy as most books of that era and genre are.

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