The Original Gothic Novel

by Charlotte Reads Classics

The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe

I was so determined to read this book, and my determination turned out to be quite essential! This book is one of the first gothic romance novels, and when you read it you can see the huge influence it had on other authors’ style. Enjoyable gothic elements are as follows:

  • Creepy castle in the middle of nowhere
  • Lots of haunted houses
  • A Villain (Montoni, why so evil?!)
  • Lots of fainting women
  • Gory bits (blood spatters and dead bodies included)
  • Prisoners
  • Psychological torture
  • Murder

These parts are awesome (for want of a more literary phrase). When the story gets going, The Mysteries of Udolpho is delightfully more-ish. What I wasn’t expecting was the three hundred odd pages at the beginning which are devoted to a very romantic description of lots of landscapes. Hmmm. I like nature as much (or a little bit more) than the next person but Radcliffe was pushing my commitment to reading this!

All in all, definately worth a read, especially if you like gothic novels and/or Northanger Abbey. This book was so different to what I had expected, and I think there is so much going on that it will exceed your expectations too. Just power through the first volume!

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