The Mysteries of Udolpho [NOOK Book]

Overview

If beautiful, orphaned Emily St. Aubert is to resist the predatory demands of her new guardian, the inscrutable Signor Montoni, she must quell the superstitious imaginings that pervade her mind. Within the sombre walls of Montoni's medieval castle the boundaries of real and imagined terrors are blurred as Emily is drawn into a Gothic web of mystery and intrigue which threaten her not only with the loss of inheritance but also identity.
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The Mysteries of Udolpho

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Overview

If beautiful, orphaned Emily St. Aubert is to resist the predatory demands of her new guardian, the inscrutable Signor Montoni, she must quell the superstitious imaginings that pervade her mind. Within the sombre walls of Montoni's medieval castle the boundaries of real and imagined terrors are blurred as Emily is drawn into a Gothic web of mystery and intrigue which threaten her not only with the loss of inheritance but also identity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781105953972
  • Publisher: Lulu.com
  • Publication date: 7/12/2012
  • Sold by: LULU PRESS
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823) was the leading exponent of Gothic fiction. During her lifetime she published five novels including A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797), as well as a collection of European travel writings. Her novels were immensely popular and much imitated.

Jacqueline Howard is Co-ordinator of English and Languages at St. Mary's College in Adelaide, South Australia, and author of 'Reading Gothic Fiction: A Bakhtinian Approach'.

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The Mysteries of Udolpho


By Ann Radcliffe

OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA

Copyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-7234-5


CHAPTER 1

Home is the resort
Of love, of joy, of peace and plenty, where,
Supporting and supported, polish'd friends
And dear relations mingle into bliss.
—Thomson


On the pleasant banks of the Garonne, in the province of Gascony, stood, in the year 1584, the chateau of Monsieur St. Aubert. From its windows were seen the pastoral landscapes of Guienne and Gascony stretching along the river, gay with luxuriant woods and vine, and plantations of olives. To the south, the view was bounded by the majestic Pyrenees, whose summits, veiled in clouds, or exhibiting awful forms, seen, and lost again, as the partial vapours rolled along, were sometimes barren, and gleamed through the blue tinge of air, and sometimes frowned with forests of gloomy pine, that swept downward to their base. These tremendous precipices were contrasted by the soft green of the pastures and woods that hung upon their skirts; among whose flocks, and herds, and simple cottages, the eye, after having scaled the cliffs above, delighted to repose. To the north, and to the east, the plains of Guienne and Languedoc were lost in the mist of distance; on the west, Gascony was bounded by the waters of Biscay.

M. St. Aubert loved to wander, with his wife and daughter, on the margin of the Garonne, and to listen to the music that floated on its waves. He had known life in other forms than those of pastoral simplicity, having mingled in the gay and in the busy scenes of the world; but the flattering portrait of mankind, which his heart had delineated in early youth, his experience had too sorrowfully corrected. Yet, amidst the changing visions of life, his principles remained unshaken, his benevolence unchilled; and he retired from the multitude 'more in PITY than in anger,' to scenes of simple nature, to the pure delights of literature, and to the exercise of domestic virtues.

He was a descendant from the younger branch of an illustrious family, and it was designed, that the deficiency of his patrimonial wealth should be supplied either by a splendid alliance in marriage, or by success in the intrigues of public affairs. But St. Aubert had too nice a sense of honour to fulfil the latter hope, and too small a portion of ambition to sacrifice what he called happiness, to the attainment of wealth. After the death of his father he married a very amiable woman, his equal in birth, and not his superior in fortune. The late Monsieur St. Aubert's liberality, or extravagance, had so much involved his affairs, that his son found it necessary to dispose of a part of the family domain, and, some years after his marriage, he sold it to Monsieur Quesnel, the brother of his wife, and retired to a small estate in Gascony, where conjugal felicity, and parental duties, divided his attention with the treasures of knowledge and the illuminations of genius.

To this spot he had been attached from his infancy. He had often made excursions to it when a boy, and the impressions of delight given to his mind by the homely kindness of the grey-headed peasant, to whom it was intrusted, and whose fruit and cream never failed, had not been obliterated by succeeding circumstances. The green pastures along which he had so often bounded in the exultation of health, and youthful freedom—the woods, under whose refreshing shade he had first indulged that pensive melancholy, which afterwards made a strong feature of his character—the wild walks of the mountains, the river, on whose waves he had floated, and the distant plains, which seemed boundless as his early hopes—were never after remembered by St. Aubert but with enthusiasm and regret. At length he disengaged himself from the world, and retired hither, to realize the wishes of many years.

The building, as it then stood, was merely a summer cottage, rendered interesting to a stranger by its neat simplicity, or the beauty of the surrounding scene; and considerable additions were necessary to make it a comfortable family residence. St. Aubert felt a kind of affection for every part of the fabric, which he remembered in his youth, and would not suffer a stone of it to be removed, so that the new building, adapted to the style of the old one, formed with it only a simple and elegant residence. The taste of Madame St. Aubert was conspicuous in its internal finishing, where the same chaste simplicity was observable in the furniture, and in the few ornaments of the apartments, that characterized the manners of its inhabitants.

The library occupied the west side of the chateau, and was enriched by a collection of the best books in the ancient and modern languages. This room opened upon a grove, which stood on the brow of a gentle declivity, that fell towards the river, and the tall trees gave it a melancholy and pleasing shade; while from the windows the eye caught, beneath the spreading branches, the gay and luxuriant landscape stretching to the west, and overlooked on the left by the bold precipices of the Pyrenees. Adjoining the library was a green-house, stored with scarce and beautiful plants; for one of the amusements of St. Aubert was the study of botany, and among the neighbouring mountains, which afforded a luxurious feast to the mind of the naturalist, he often passed the day in the pursuit of his favourite science. He was sometimes accompanied in these little excursions by Madame St. Aubert, and frequently by his daughter; when, with a small osier basket to receive plants, and another filled with cold refreshments, such as the cabin of the shepherd did not afford, they wandered away among the most romantic and magnificent scenes, nor suffered the charms of Nature's lowly children to abstract them from the observance of her stupendous works. When weary of sauntering among cliffs that seemed scarcely accessible but to the steps of the enthusiast, and where no track appeared on the vegetation, but what the foot of the izard had left; they would seek one of those green recesses, which so beautifully adorn the bosom of these mountains, where, under the shade of the lofty larch, or cedar, they enjoyed their simple repast, made sweeter by the waters of the cool stream, that crept along the turf, and by the breath of wild flowers and aromatic plants, that fringed the rocks, and inlaid the grass.

Adjoining the eastern side of the green-house, looking towards the plains of Languedoc, was a room, which Emily called hers, and which contained her books, her drawings, her musical instruments, with some favourite birds and plants. Here she usually exercised herself in elegant arts, cultivated only because they were congenial to her taste, and in which native genius, assisted by the instructions of Monsieur and Madame St. Aubert, made her an early proficient. The windows of this room were particularly pleasant; they descended to the floor, and, opening upon the little lawn that surrounded the house, the eye was led between groves of almond, palm-trees, flowering-ash, and myrtle, to the distant landscape, where the Garonne wandered.

The peasants of this gay climate were often seen on an evening, when the day's labour was done, dancing in groups on the margin of the river. Their sprightly melodies, debonnaire steps, the fanciful figure of their dances, with the tasteful and capricious manner in which the girls adjusted their simple dress, gave a character to the scene entirely French.

The front of the chateau, which, having a southern aspect, opened upon the grandeur of the mountains, was occupied on the ground floor by a rustic hall, and two excellent sitting rooms. The first floor, for the cottage had no second story, was laid out in bed-chambers, except one apartment that opened to a balcony, and which was generally used for a breakfast-room.

In the surrounding ground, St. Aubert had made very tasteful improvements; yet, such was his attachment to objects he had remembered from his boyish days, that he had in some instances sacrificed taste to sentiment. There were two old larches that shaded the building, and interrupted the prospect; St. Aubert had sometimes declared that he believed he should have been weak enough to have wept at their fall. In addition to these larches he planted a little grove of beech, pine, and mountain-ash. On a lofty terrace, formed by the swelling bank of the river, rose a plantation of orange, lemon, and palm-trees, whose fruit, in the coolness of evening, breathed delicious fragrance. With these were mingled a few trees of other species. Here, under the ample shade of a plane-tree, that spread its majestic canopy towards the river, St. Aubert loved to sit in the fine evenings of summer, with his wife and children, watching, beneath its foliage, the setting sun, the mild splendour of its light fading from the distant landscape, till the shadows of twilight melted its various features into one tint of sober grey. Here, too, he loved to read, and to converse with Madame St. Aubert; or to play with his children, resigning himself to the influence of those sweet affections, which are ever attendant on simplicity and nature. He has often said, while tears of pleasure trembled in his eyes, that these were moments infinitely more delightful than any passed amid the brilliant and tumultuous scenes that are courted by the world. His heart was occupied; it had, what can be so rarely said, no wish for a happiness beyond what it experienced. The consciousness of acting right diffused a serenity over his manners, which nothing else could impart to a man of moral perceptions like his, and which refined his sense of every surrounding blessing.

The deepest shade of twilight did not send him from his favourite plane-tree. He loved the soothing hour, when the last tints of light die away; when the stars, one by one, tremble through aether, and are reflected on the dark mirror of the waters; that hour, which, of all others, inspires the mind with pensive tenderness, and often elevates it to sublime contemplation. When the moon shed her soft rays among the foliage, he still lingered, and his pastoral supper of cream and fruits was often spread beneath it. Then, on the stillness of night, came the song of the nightingale, breathing sweetness, and awakening melancholy.

The first interruptions to the happiness he had known since his retirement, were occasioned by the death of his two sons. He lost them at that age when infantine simplicity is so fascinating; and though, in consideration of Madame St. Aubert's distress, he restrained the expression of his own, and endeavoured to bear it, as he meant, with philosophy, he had, in truth, no philosophy that could render him calm to such losses. One daughter was now his only surviving child; and, while he watched the unfolding of her infant character, with anxious fondness, he endeavoured, with unremitting effort, to counteract those traits in her disposition, which might hereafter lead her from happiness. She had discovered in her early years uncommon delicacy of mind, warm affections, and ready benevolence; but with these was observable a degree of susceptibility too exquisite to admit of lasting peace. As she advanced in youth, this sensibility gave a pensive tone to her spirits, and a softness to her manner, which added grace to beauty, and rendered her a very interesting object to persons of a congenial disposition. But St. Aubert had too much good sense to prefer a charm to a virtue; and had penetration enough to see, that this charm was too dangerous to its possessor to be allowed the character of a blessing. He endeavoured, therefore, to strengthen her mind; to enure her to habits of self-command; to teach her to reject the first impulse of her feelings, and to look, with cool examination, upon the disappointments he sometimes threw in her way. While he instructed her to resist first impressions, and to acquire that steady dignity of mind, that can alone counterbalance the passions, and bear us, as far as is compatible with our nature, above the reach of circumstances, he taught himself a lesson of fortitude; for he was often obliged to witness, with seeming indifference, the tears and struggles which his caution occasioned her.

In person, Emily resembled her mother; having the same elegant symmetry of form, the same delicacy of features, and the same blue eyes, full of tender sweetness. But, lovely as was her person, it was the varied expression of her countenance, as conversation awakened the nicer emotions of her mind, that threw such a captivating grace around her:

Those tend'rer tints, that shun the careless eye,
And, in the world's contagious circle, die.


St. Aubert cultivated her understanding with the most scrupulous care. He gave her a general view of the sciences, and an exact acquaintance with every part of elegant literature. He taught her Latin and English, chiefly that she might understand the sublimity of their best poets. She discovered in her early years a taste for works of genius; and it was St. Aubert's principle, as well as his inclination, to promote every innocent means of happiness. 'A well-informed mind,' he would say, 'is the best security against the contagion of folly and of vice. The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness. Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking; and the temptations of the world without, will be counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within. Thought, and cultivation, are necessary equally to the happiness of a country and a city life; in the first they prevent the uneasy sensations of indolence, and afford a sublime pleasure in the taste they create for the beautiful, and the grand; in the latter, they make dissipation less an object of necessity, and consequently of interest.'

It was one of Emily's earliest pleasures to ramble among the scenes of nature; nor was it in the soft and glowing landscape that she most delighted; she loved more the wild wood-walks, that skirted the mountain; and still more the mountain's stupendous recesses, where the silence and grandeur of solitude impressed a sacred awe upon her heart, and lifted her thoughts to the God of Heaven and Earth. In scenes like these she would often linger along, wrapt in a melancholy charm, till the last gleam of day faded from the west; till the lonely sound of a sheep-bell, or the distant bark of a watch-dog, were all that broke on the stillness of the evening. Then, the gloom of the woods; the trembling of their leaves, at intervals, in the breeze; the bat, flitting on the twilight; the cottage-lights, now seen, and now lost—were circumstances that awakened her mind into effort, and led to enthusiasm and poetry.

Her favourite walk was to a little fishing-house, belonging to St. Aubert, in a woody glen, on the margin of a rivulet that descended from the Pyrenees, and, after foaming among their rocks, wound its silent way beneath the shades it reflected. Above the woods, that screened this glen, rose the lofty summits of the Pyrenees, which often burst boldly on the eye through the glades below. Sometimes the shattered face of a rock only was seen, crowned with wild shrubs; or a shepherd's cabin seated on a cliff, overshadowed by dark cypress, or waving ash. Emerging from the deep recesses of the woods, the glade opened to the distant landscape, where the rich pastures and vine- covered slopes of Gascony gradually declined to the plains; and there, on the winding shores of the Garonne, groves, and hamlets, and villas—their outlines softened by distance, melted from the eye into one rich harmonious tint.

This, too, was the favourite retreat of St. Aubert, to which he frequently withdrew from the fervour of noon, with his wife, his daughter, and his books; or came at the sweet evening hour to welcome the silent dusk, or to listen for the music of the nightingale. Sometimes, too, he brought music of his own, and awakened every fairy echo with the tender accents of his oboe; and often have the tones of Emily's voice drawn sweetness from the waves, over which they trembled.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe. Copyright © 2014 Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 51 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(8)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A classic everyone should own!

    This is my favorite novel ever! I stumbled across it beacuse Jane Austen's "Northanger Abbey" was heavily influenced by this classic book, and name-dropped it several time. This book was instrumental in shaping the modern detective novel, and is drenched in gothic atmosphere. There's mystery, suspense, romance, drama and it's even a travelogue of sorts. It's an ambitious read, but thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    A Truly Captivating Novel

    I'm still envolved in the book at the moment. And, despite a slow start, it quickly got me interested and now I am captivated by it. I find myself even shouting out exclamations for the characters like one does in a movie theater when the actors start walking towards the weird light and the creepy music starts playing. I can't wait to find out what happens next!!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2004

    The Best Book I Ever Read

    I would greatly recommend The Mysterys of Udalpho, by Ann Radcliffe, to any adult or young adult who loves a suspenseful plot with an added bonus of romance. The Mysterys of Udalpho tells the classic story of good versus evil. The book¿s focus is on a young orphaned heroine, Emily St Aubert. Radcliffe does a brilliant job in showing Emily¿s growth physiologically as well as psychologically throughout the book. Emily is held a prisoner at the castle of Udalpho, where it is hard for her to tell reality from fantasy. The constant twists in the plot keep you on the edge of your seat as you are reading. The intricate plot comes together well with an exceptional ending that has you smiling and shaking your head in disbelief.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    Great book!

    The book started out slow, but once I got into it there was no putting the book down. There are so many mysteries throughout the book that it only adds to the intrigue. The author does well in answering all of the questions you form while reading the book. It was a great romance with adventure. I would recommend this book to any serious reader.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2000

    The Mysteries of Udolpho

    I first heard about this book when I was reading Jane Austen's 'Northanger Abbey'. It made this book sound so interesting I just had to read it. I am only 14, but it is one of the greatest books I have ever read. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in literature.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2012

    Disapointing digital copy

    Google's digitaization of this classic is at times impossible to decipher the original word. With numbers and various puncuations thrown in place of letters the text finds itself struggling to convey the intended meaning. To truly enjoy this tale look for a better digital copy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2011

    Exciting but a bit underwhelming

    Written in 1794, Udolpho has served as the prototype for most detective novels and horror stories for the past 200 years. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations, but was still enjoyable. While yes, there were may parts that were genuinely suspenseful and exciting, and Radcliffe did create a masterfully woven mystery that incorporated events and clues from throughout the book. But as a piece of literature, it just seems to lack focus. It was almost like she wanted it to be as exciting as possible, and went out of the way to manufacture extraordinary events that felt simply thrown into the story (mountainous bandit pirates?). At the beginning of the story, Radcliffe's detailed description of landscapes can be extremely excessive, but do taper off towards the end of the book. The most contrived part of the book was the poetry. Now I do adore poetry, but it just did not have a place in this novel. The narration would simply halt to say "here are some lines written by Emily (the heroine)", and then go back to where the story left off. Also, the characters tended to be quite stoic, and never evolved out of the good/evil archetypes. But this novel was not meant to be a detailed analysis of human nature, but a gothic horror story, and it did manage itself quite beautifully to that end. And for a 18th century housewife who never wrote a book until she was thirty, this hefty novel was indeed quite an accomplishment. So one the whole I deem this an indulgent bit of mystery and excitement, but not something that leaves a lasting impression.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2004

    Super read!

    Amazing book that kept me hooked all the way to the end. I fell in love with these characters. This book goes through all the emotions! It's great!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2008

    Mysterious and Fantastic

    This was an awesome read. It does start out very slow but it's worth sticking to it. It is full of adventures and mysteries. Quite fabulous.....I definitely want to read more of her.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    A

    At over 700 pages, this seems to be the entire novel, but again, barely readable. Google should not offer such a bad copy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2014

    A

    Another disappointing scan.

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  • Posted June 13, 2014

    DO NOT ORDER THIS BOOK until you know your version is readable.

    DO NOT ORDER THIS BOOK until you know your version is readable. I just received my order and I'm very disappointed that B&N would allow a book with miniscule print to be sold online! I will have to return it; it's over 300 pages and I will need a magnifiying glass to read it! I've always been very happy with my B&N orders, except for this one. The book is being returned immediately.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2014

    I LOVED THIS COVER! THIS IS not ABOUT THE BOOK itself but u

    I LOVED THIS COVER!




    THIS IS not ABOUT THE BOOK itself but unfortunately the print in this edition is SO miniscule I, a young person with perfect vision, got a headache straining my eyes to read the print. So unfortunate but such a good read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2011

    Buy the real version

    Theres too many strange characters and typos. About to buy the real version

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Creepy and long but worth it.

    I read this book years ago, and it was very lengthy and drawn out. But overall I enjoyed it. It's a true Gothic novel; seemingly every character has sinister motives. And the locations are all dark and mysterious. One of the great mysteries of the novel isn't explained real well. The nefarious characters are contrasted with truly benevolent people, and they all get their just rewards in the end. This book is helpful to read if you plan on reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. Ms. Austen references Udolpho often.

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    Not Worth Free

    Filled with confusing characters and poorly organized. Better off actually buying the book.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Enjoyable

    The first time I ever heard of this book was when I read Jane Austens Northanger Abey. This book plays a role in the other and so I was curious. I found this book very enjoyable and am looking forward to reading more of Radcliffe's novels.

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  • Posted February 18, 2010

    What a great book!

    Radcliffe illustrates every scene so thoroughly that the reader experiences all the same fear, empathy, and intrigue as the beautiful Emily. This heroine is remarkably selfless and her moral convictions and discipline are inspiring.

    The only tedious parts of the book, for me, were some of her descriptions of the landscapes which were quite loquacious, though I imagine I would have enjoyed them more were I not so anxious for the next action scene. This curious impatience is probably more to her credit than otherwise.

    Overall the book is sweet, intriguing and terrifying. I could not read it when at home alone...or at night...or really any other time that is else wise conducive to hearing bumps in the night! : )

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  • Posted February 15, 2010

    Fantastic Classic Read!

    I was curious about The Mysteries of Udolpho after reading Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey - and it did not fail! It was a fantastic read. The characters are so interesting. They are sad and happy, gallant and mischievious. I couldn't stop reading it. The story keeps you guessing and boy was I wrong when I discovered the truth! It is the perfect mixture of a romance story, mystery, thriller, etc. Wait until you read about the black veil, what are the noises she hears, and who is the mysterious nun??? Now I will admit I am not big on poetry and skipped most of that, but it not take away from the story, so don't let the poetry stop you from reading it, if you are like me. This was a great story and I can't wait to read the rest of Mrs. Radcliffe's horid novels!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2004

    The first romantic novel

    The Mysteries of Udolpho is the first romantic novel in which a heroine is the main focus of the book. Written in a time where women had so little control over their own life, Emily attempts and in the end suceeds in getting her hearts content. Like modern day romances, we watch as Emily and Valancourt fight the odds and obstacles to become a couple. The deep descriptions of the Castle of Udolpho add to the books mystery. If you are a modern day romance novel reader I would suggest you read the book that started it all. However, there are pages on pages of description in which modern day readers may find a bit tedicious.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews

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