Radcliffe, Ann

9 July 1764 - 7 February 1823

Hugely popular Gothic novelist of the 1790s (and beyond), Radcliffe crafted a brand of explained supernaturalism (which owed not a little to the early novels of Charlotte Smith) that struck a chord with British readers during the anxious 1790s. Her blend of moralism, aesthetics, and drama became definitive for what was often taken as a more genteel strain of Gothic fiction during the Romantic period, although that characterization of her work has come in for critical scrutiny in recent years, owing in no small measure to the groundbreaking biographical work of Rictor Norton (see below). Hers is one of the most famous early names of the Gothic tradition; The Mysteries of Udolpho is an essential Gothic text, though many readers prefer The Italian and the oft-overlooked The Romance of the Forest. Radcliffe suddenly quit writing despite ongoing fame and significant financial reward; her later reclusiveness, which may well be attributed to a nervous breakdown, and her acute lifelong sense of propriety, decorum, and reserve have left us with no known portraits or likenesses.

Sites:
Ann Radcliffe Overview
Features a biographical note and brief discussions of various aspects of her works. An excellent starting point... [Victorian Web]
Radcliffe Overview
Good overview; ignore the picture. [Gothic Experience, Lila Melani, CUNY-Brooklyn]
Detailed synopsis of Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe
by Rictor Norton (Leicester University Press, 1999)
Biographical essay
Includes bibliograpies. Recommended. [Ruth Facer, Chawton House Library and Study Centre]
Ann Radcliffe
Overview of Radcliffe's work and cultural context. (Note: the image of Radcliffe on this page is not, in fact, Radcliffe, of whom no likenesses are known.) [Lilia Melani, CUNY - Brooklyn College]
Brief biographical note-cum-appreciation.
Remarks about Radicliffe's life and works are interspersed with quotations from her novels. [Keith Parkins]
Brief biographical note
[Wikipedia]
Brief biographical note
[Biography Base]
Brief biographical note
[Penguin UK]
Brief biographical note
[Gothic Labyrinth]
Brief biographical note
Another site with a spurious picture.[NNDB]
Brief overview
by George Saintsbury, from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1907-1921) [Bartleby.com]
Brief biographical note
[Columbia Encyclopedia, Encyclopdia.com]
Brief biographical note  a LitGothic etext
[John W. Cousins, A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, 1910]
Radcliffe sources
Bibliography of useful Radcliffe sources, both hardcopy and web. [Infography]
Ann Radcliffe page
Very brief list of links and titles. [San Antonio College LitWeb]
Bibliography
[FantasticFiction]
Radcliffe Hyper-Concordance
Part of the The Victorian Literary Studies Archive, this concordance allows you to search the etext of Udolpho.
UCLA Marathon reading page
yes, apparently they read Udolpho...


Etexts:

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The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne [1789]
Radcliffe's first novel.
- at Celebration of Women Writers (250K)
- at Munsey's / BlackMask this link opens a new window [various formats]
-- synopsis at Corvey Women Writers on the Web, Sheffield Hallam U


Gaston de Blondeville
Published posthumously in 1826, and the only one of Radcliffe's novels to feature the genuine supernatural.
[ no known etext ]


The Italian
- at Munsey's / BlackMask [various formats]
-- see also James Boaden, who dramatized The Italian.


The Mysteries of Udolpho
Radcliffe's groundbreaking novel was first published in 1794; it has never been out of print since.
- at Munsey's / BlackMask this link opens a new window
- at Project Gutenberg (1.8 MB; or zipped file [610K])
Extract: arrival at Udolpho (Ellizabeth Fay, The Bluestocking Archive)
excerpts
Includes a description of Emily, the approach to Castle Udolpho, and a description of Emily's bedroom, with its problematic door...
2 extracts and discussion   [W. W. Norton, Literary Gothicism]

The Romance of the Forest
- at Munsey's / BlackMask [various formats]
-- brief discussion of Radcliffe and an extract from Romance... [W. W. Norton]
-- Title page from the 6th edition, 1799. [Corvey Women Writers on the Web, Sheffield Hallam U]

A Sicilian Romance
- at Munsey's / BlackMask [various formats]
 



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"On the Supernatural in Poetry" [1826]
For more Romantic-era discussion of supernaturalist literary theory and practice, check out Anna Barbauld's "On the Pleasure Derived from Objects of Terror, with Sir Bertrand, A Fragment," John Wilson's "Some Remarks on the Use of the Preternatural in Works of Fiction," and Sir Walter Scott's "On the Supernatural in Fictitious Composition."
- the complete etext  PDF  LitGothic etext
- a brief extract [The Gothic: Materials for Study (UVa)]

Complete poems
While not in and of themselves "gothic," Radcliffe's poems originally appeared in her (explained supernatural) Gothic novels. The poems are here presented in their original context. [Michael Gamer, U Penn]


Books:
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It's too pricey for most of us, but ask your library to buy Deborah Rogers' Ann Radcliffe: A Bio-Bibliography, a supremely helpful guide for anyone doing research on the Queen of Gothic Fiction.
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Anne Radcliffe has received a lot of scholarly attention lately, much of it quite valuable. For an outstanding recent biographical study, one unlikely to be surpassed any time soon, consult Rictor Norton's Mistress of Udolpho: The Life of Ann Radcliffe:


Essays and Reviews:
"Revising the Radcliffean Model: Regina Maria Roche's Clermont and Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey"
by Anthony Mandal [Cardiff Corvey: Reading the Romantic Text 3: Sept. 1999]
Gothic Feminism: The Professionalization of Gender from Charlotte Smith to the Brontës
by Diane Long Hoeveler (Penn State UP, 1998). Reviewer: Deborah Kennedy [Romantic Circles]
The same title is reviewed in Romanticism on the Net. Reviewer: Lauren Fitzgerald
This book devotes two chapters to Radcliffe: one to her early, one to her later Gothics.
Radcliffe-related Student Essays and Bibliographies
These brief treatments are part of The Gothic: Materials for Study  (UVa) project
Review of The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian
Long attributed to S. T. Coleridge, but not widely believed, now, to be by him. [Michael Gamer, UPenn]
Brief discussion of her novels
by George Saintsbury, from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature (1907-1921) [Bartleby.com]
"Ann Radcliffe."