The Mysteries of Udolpho: A Gothic Romance (Reader's Edition)

The Mysteries of Udolpho: A Gothic Romance (Reader's Edition)

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After the death of her parents, Emily St. Aubert leaves her beloved home to live with her aunt, a woman of much money and less sense. The marriage of Emily's aunt to a mysterious Italian begins a series of journeys that take Emily across the rugged beauty of the Alps to the wonders of 16th century Venice and then to an isolated and foreboding castle in the Apennines, where she must struggle against the malignant schemes of her aunt's husband and her own fearful imaginings. This reader's edition has been edited to flow more smoothly to modern ears. The interspersed poems have been removed, and the parts have been named and redistributed. However, no scenes and no descriptions have been removed: the work stands as Ann Radcliffe wrote it, polished for today's readers. Includes map.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940011899010
Publisher: Idle Spider Books
Publication date: 08/01/2010
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 582
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823), called "the first poetess of romantic fiction" by Sir Walter Scott, was the most popular and well-paid novelist of her time. Her work influenced an entire generation of writers as well as refining the Gothic genre itself.

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The Mysteries of Udolpho 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 57 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kemeki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This work was definitely written in a different time! Parts were a bit slow, which was not what I was expecting. And I wasn't expecting it to be 600+ pages either. The quintessential Gothic novel - it turns out to be true, but if you read it - I recommend just skipping the first volume entirely! And I almost never condone not reading a work in its entirety. It's an interesting work, griping in parts, and I can't wait to re-read Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, I know this will give me new perspective!
RandyStafford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Accomplished, refined, and beautiful, our heroine Emily St. Aubert finds herself orphaned, her finances in doubt, and surrounded by uncaring, vacuous, and social climbing relatives. Refusing to marry her true love Valancourt, she accompanies her aunt to Italy. There, they both become the prisoners of the sinister Count Montoni. His Castle Udolpho has all the stock trappings of the Gothic: the medieval architecture, the heavy tapesteries, the veiled and oddly familiar portraits, requisite secret passages, horrible sights in the dungeons, mysterious apparitions, hinted murders, and ghostly voices. Through it all, Emily finds time to write a fair amount of poetry. (It's not for nothing the novel's subtitle is "A Romance Interspersed with Some Pieces of Poetry".) Radcliffe was one of the most influential Gothic writers, and this 1794 work is generally regarded as her best. Is it worth reading today solely on its own merits? Not quite. Radcliffe's story is too long, her reveries over landscape wearisome. There is a flavor of earnest moral instruction as Emily not only struggles to master her emotions, but Radcliffe, in her contrived solutions to supernatural mysteries, is intent on stamping out the unreasonableness of superstition. Yet, there is not just great sentiment but psychological insight too. And the ending is surprising despite the inevitable familiarity of many of the story's trappings. Matthew Lewis _The Monk_ is much more fun, a distillation of much of Radcliffe's images and tropes into a delightfully lurid and supernatural plot. (To extend Stephen King's metaphor that the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole's _The Castle of Otranto_ was the genre's Elvis Presley and Lewis' novel its Sex Pistols, one is tempted to say this is its prog rock.) But students of the genre and the novel in general will want to read one of the most popular Gothics and study Radcliffe's technique -- including her somewhat clumsy backstory passages. Finally, it would be a mistake to leave the impression this is just a novel of fear and anxiety. The love between Valancourt and Emily makes this a romance in every sense of the word.
souloftherose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
¿She saw herself in a castle, inhabited by vice and violence, seated beyond the reach of law and justice, and in the power of a man, whose perseverance was equal to every occasion, and in whom passions, of which revenge was not the weakest, entirely supplied the place of principles.¿Ever since I first read Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, I've wanted to read The Mysteries of Udolpho, the book Northanger's heroine, Catherine Morland, found so fascinating. But, I've spent years putting off reading Radcliffe's most well-known work because I'd heard it's long and boring and because it was published in the 18th century and I wasn't sure I'd be able to understand it; basically I was scared.Then before rereading Northanger Abbey earlier this year I decided I was going to try and read an 18th century gothic novel. I picked The Castle of Otranto by Hugh Walpole because it was the shortest and surprised myself by quite enjoying it. I decided this meant there might be hope I could read Udolpho and provided myself with the Oxford World¿s Classics edition from the library.I found this book a lot more enjoyable than I expected to. I can understand why people find it boring and silly; there are a lot of passages describing the beautiful scenery of the south of France and Italy where the story is set, Radcliffe writes in very long sentences, the characters will randomly compose poetry which Radcliffe includes in the text and the heroine faints a lot. It took me quite a while to get used to Radcliffe¿s prose and I found I needed to read this book at a much slower pace than usual to appreciate it but once I¿d managed to adjust to this I took a great deal of pleasure in this dreamlike tale.Several aspects of the book surprised me. The first was that the heroine, Emily St Aubert, is a real heroine, not a pathetic girly-girl despite the number of times she faints. Although essentially a demure heroine, Emily¿s struggle against her evil guardian is something she is left to cope with on her own; orphaned, separated from her fiancé, with only a maid who is almost Shakespearean in her loquaciousness to support her, and she is successful in this lone struggle. Yes, in her final escape from the castle she is assisted by a man, but in my eyes, by that point, the battle has already been won. Secondly, one of the things Radcliffe seems to be trying to get across with this book is the idea that self-restraint should be exercised over one¿s emotions rather than giving them free rein. This doesn¿t mean that she thinks emotions are bad, her long descriptions of the scenery are, after all, trying to evoke emotions of awe and wonder in the reader, she does seem concerned that sensibility can be dangerous if encouraged to excess. This made me wonder how much of Jane Austen¿s parody of The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey was at least in part, a parody on the public reaction to Radcliffe¿s book rather than the book itself. If Catherine Morland had read Udolpho more carefully she would have known not to encourage her sensibilities and the embarrassing scene with Henry in his mother¿s room could have been avoided.A note on the Oxford World¿s Classics edition: I found the notes in this edition really very helpful as in addition to explaining any 18th century words or phrases a 21st century reader would be unfamiliar with; they also gave a lot of background to the areas of 18th century philosophy and thinking which Radcliffe was drawing on. The introduction by Terry Castle was also very good but, like most introductions, I wouldn¿t recommend reading it until after you¿ve finished the book.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What fun! A long (600+) book, but so much fun. Written in the late 1700s, this book is a sweeping gothic romance, with poetry, sweeping poetic landscapes, a thwarted love affair, evil step-uncles, secrets (some even kept from the reader but known by the protagonist, our dear Emily!), ghosts, castles, Carnivale in Venice......come on, now....who can resist all this? Due to a couple of extraneous tangents in the plot, which I felt were completely unnecessary, I only give out four stars. It was not particularly profound, but boy, oh boy, was it fun?!
amerynth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Give me a book about a troubled orphan, whose fate and fortunes are left in questionable hands and whose love life is in a shambles, and I'm a happy reader.Ann Radcliffe's "The Mysteries of Udolpho" has all that in spades. The unfortunate heroine Emily St. Aubert struggles to keep her emotions in check as she is essentially imprisoned in the Gothic castle of Udolpho by the dastardly Montoni. Cue plenty of weeping and fainting as events unfold at the creepy castle. Going in, you should know that Radcliffe's book is a Gothic romance -- so there are plenty of overwrought scenes and vivid (often delicious) descriptions of the landscape that serve as a precursor to the emotions evoked in the following chapters. Yet, the story itself (especially volumes two and three) is not only compelling, but at times is sublime. I'm told (by a friend who is an English professor) that Udolpho was the Harlequin romance of its day -- all of the famous literati were secretly reading it but unwilling to admit it. I can completely understand why, as the book, written in 1794, is still readable and enjoyable even today.
pj77 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Mysteries of Udolpho is a fantastic book for lovers of a great gothic romance. Austen's reference to The Mysteries of Udolpho in Northanger Abbey was intriguing and led me to Radcliffe's work. Her writing is full of beautiful landscape descriptions and her character development in the first half of the novel captivates you. It is a long novel, but it keeps you in suspense until the very end and takes you on a rollercoaster ride throughout the last 100 -150 pages! The romance, gothic castles, horror, intrigue and mystery are everything you could wish for in a novel of this genre. It is a really great read and I recommend it to all.
keristars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very long and sometimes very boring book, but I think it's well worth reading - especially in a group setting! (because it's fun to complain about the long and boring bits with other people, or to laugh at how silly Emily is.) I think the Gothic novel genre is fascinating, and of course Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho is one of the earlier and more well-known examples.Fans of Austen, especially Northanger Abbey, will find that familiarity with Udolpho provides a greater richness to Austen's novels. But more than that, Udolpho gives insight to 18th century thought regarding Deism, Sensibility, Benevolence, patriarchy, feminism &c &c and it comments upon philosophy that came out of the Enlightenment, such as Rousseau's idea that man is naturally good (as compared to Locke's statement that man is naturally wicked).Beyond the academic worth, I still think the Mysteries of Udolpho is fantastic and it is something that I'm glad to have read and will likely find myself reading again in the future.
CollectorOfAshes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being my first read of the First Lady of Gothic fiction, I can say that I'm a bit underwhelmed. The story has some occasionally excellent descriptions, lots of emotion, and generally moody atmosphere. However, often the descriptions are generic (must every single sea view have sails?) and the characters so overwrought that either they're fainting or they're failing to communicate, and because of this lack of communication, many trials and sorrows result. There's also a lot of deus-ex-machina going on which leaches away the gothic atmosphere. Must everything be of human origin that at first seems supernatural? Radcliffe seems to think so. However, with all that said, I learned a few new words and the story had enough complexity and emotion to propel me towards its close. Strangely, there's also quite a bit of profane oaths which generally reflect the syncrenistic view of Christianity the author possesses -- that is, having a form of godliness but denying its true power, and that is most disappointing of all.
otterlake on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First came across a reference to this book in Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. A lot of fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
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BethanyAL More than 1 year ago
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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