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The Mysteries of Udolpho (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The Oxford World's Classics edition with the introduction by Terry Castle is the only edition I've read, but I recommend it particularly because of the introduction, which I found very interesting and insightful after finishing the novel. One point that Castle makes is that despite the novel's Gothic label, Udolpho is more like "a disconcerting textual hybrid." The multi-generic nature of the novel is one of the features that most surprised me; it takes quite a while for Emily to become imprisoned in Udolpho and what precedes her time there is almost anti-Gothic. Emily has perfect parents and the perfect upbringing, though she begins to suffer relatively early on when her mother dies.Read more ›
Radcliffe is brilliant at describing her heroine's evolving sensibility and allowing her heroine to document her own changing mental states with poetry. This is the higher pleasure of the book: the examination of female sensibility.
The lower pleasure of the book would be the GOTHIC atmospheres & characters that Radcliffe subjects her romantically-inclined heroine to. The Gothic atmospheres (castles with secret passageways, veiled portraits, remote mountain passes populated by banditti) & characters (almost all of the villains are Italian and excessively vile) are great fun. A lot of people (including Percy Shelley & Jane Austen) make fun of this kind of Gothic writing, but without it think of all the pleasures we would be missing out on.Read more ›
But approach the book with indulgence and patience, and it has moments to reward both. Fans of gothic literature will still find Udolpho an interesting view into the genre's development, particularly in the role of the sublime and the function of human imagination (in place of literal supernatural events) to create horror. And, in defiance of its other limitations, Udolpho has some exceptional moments--sympathetic and honest human interactions, perceptions into human thought, evocative atmospheric and natural descriptions. These moments vary from indulgently gothic to thoughtful or romantic, but each is a quiet delight.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I may be biased as I'm an English major with a focus in 18th century literature, but I think this is a great book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Jane
If you don't mind a somewhat long-winded style and a slow start, you will probably find this at least mildly enjoyable. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Roberta Moore
This is one of my favorite novels. Radcliffe's narrative impressed me in many ways. The plot is imaginative and complex. Read morePublished 22 months ago by J. Bertram
The Mysteries of Udolpho have long been stated as a classic, and after reading it several times over I can see why. The book never gets tiring. Read morePublished 23 months ago by A Rosie Claddagh
Having an interest in Gothic literature (mostly of the horror variety), and hoping to read a novel length version of the great short stories I read in "the Oxford Book of Gothic... Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by theMorningStar
This product arrived on time and in great condition. I honestly had no complaints with the order, even though I found the book itself a bit dull. :)Published on December 17, 2012 by V. Castro
Wonderful to be able to read this "classic" eighteenth century Gothic romance. I heard a lot about the writer, Ann Radcliffe, and the book is just what I expected. Read morePublished on January 7, 2012 by Daphna
I never finished it. I felt the writing to be very amateur-ish and not in a charming way. Got very tired very quick. Zero supernatural, surreal events happen even at 200 pages in. Read morePublished on December 22, 2011 by Jph