Ann Radcliffe

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Radcliffe, Ann (Ward),

1764–1823, English novelist, b. London. The daughter of a successful tradesman, she married William Radcliffe, a law student who later became editor of the English Chronicle. Her best works, The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1797), give her a prominent place in the tradition of the Gothic romanceGothic romance,
type of novel that flourished in the late 18th and early 19th cent. in England. Gothic romances were mysteries, often involving the supernatural and heavily tinged with horror, and they were usually set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins and haunted
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. Her excellent use of landscape to create mood and her sense of mystery and suspense had an enormous influence on later writers, particularly Walter Scott.

Bibliography

See studies by C. F. McIntyre (1920, repr. 1970) and E. B. Murray (1972).

Radcliffe, Ann

 

(née Ann Ward). Born July 9, 1764, in London; died there Feb. 7, 1823. English writer.

Radcliffe was educated at home. She won broad popularity for A Sicilian Romance (1790) and The Romance of the Forest (1791) and especially for The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797). In her Gothic novels Radcliffe masterfully created an atmosphere of terror and mystery, but the element of rationality is also strong in her novels. Everything mysterious is fully explained by real phenomena. The romantics adopted the strong-willed, unrestrainedly passionate “hero-villain,” definitively portrayed in Radcliffe’s works.

REFERENCES

Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 1, fasc. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1945.
MacIntyre, C. Ann Radcliffe in Relation to Her Times. New Haven-London, 1920.
Varma, D. P. The Gothic Flame. [London, 1957].
Birkhead, E. The Tale of Terror. New York, 1963.