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The Romance of the Forest (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
The plots of Radcliffe's mysteries have been efficiently summarized by Russell Noyes in an introduction of 1956:
"The hero is a gentleman of noble birth, likely as not in some sort of disgrace; the heroine, an orphan-heiress, high-strung and sensitive, and highly susceptible to music and poetry and to nature in its most romantic moods. A prominent role is given to the tyrant-villain. He is a man of fierce and morose passions obsessed by the love of power and riches. The villain can usually be counted on to confine the heroine in the haunted wing of a castle because she refuses to marry someone she hates. Whatever the details, Mrs. Radcliffe generally manages the plot and action so that the chief impression is a sense of the young heroine's incessant danger. On oft-repeated midnight prowls about the gloomy passageways of a rambling, ruined castle, the heroine in a quiver of excitement (largely self-induced) experiences a series of hair-raising adventures and narrow escapes. Her emotional tension is kept to the pitch by a succession of strange sights and sounds . . . and by an assorted array of sliding panels, trap doors, faded hangings, veiled portraits, bloodstained garments, and even dark and desperate characters."
Many reviewers claim that no other Radcliffe mystery measures up to her Mysteries of Udolpho. I was hesitant to read others after reading Udolpho and loving it, but I decided not to trust the reviewers and read three more.Read more ›
But what is far more annoying are the deliberate OMISSIONS OF TEXT! A total of five chapters are missing, described as "tedious" and summarized briefly. Also, though Ann Radcliffe selected epigraphs for each chapter before the novel's 1791 publication, none of these are included, despite being rather interesting and insightful.
All in all, this edition is ridiculously bad as a scholarly text and not much better as entertainment, since the missing chapters really DO contribute to the enjoyment of the plot and characterization! Teaching with this edition is a nightmare.
The narrative of 'Romance' is typically set in Roman Catholic Europe, and we see a family -- La Motte and his wife -- fleeing from Paris for debt. In the middle of the deep forest, La Motte is caught by the banditti (so he thinks). But the latter would not demand money; the ruffian instead brings a young, innocent girl Adeline, and places her under the protection of the family.
The episode above is just a beginning. Next we see La Motte et al. keep on running, until they decide to settle in a remote ruined abbey in France, of which owner Marquis is away from the estate. The deserted abbey provides them a good hiding place until Adeline realizes that something is wrong with the place -- there are a rusty dagger, a faded manuscript, a trap door, strange bahavior of La Motte, who daily vanishes in the woods, etc. And when finally Marquis arrives there in person, she must face another danger, typically Gothic situation for an innocent lady.
If you have read Radcliff, you find in 'Romance of the Forest' her distict touch here and there, which she was to develop in her later works. Besides the trademark tricks of Gothic fiction (which is to be parodied in 'Northanger Abbey'), we see Radcliff's obsession with the "sublime" landscapes, and her heroine is always allowed to escape from the dangers, only to frequently faint later.Read more ›
I am a die hard fan of Radcliffe's, this is another excellent and grand novel.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is great literature which I love reading. To me the story is secondary with primary enjoyment from reading descriptions of scenery and digging into the personalities of... Read morePublished 6 months ago by bruce cornely
Compared to The Mysteries of Udolpho, The Romance of the Forest has fewer explained ghosts but the few it has are employ well and to great effect. Read morePublished 13 months ago by J. Bertram
This is a Georgian/Regency novel, referred to in Jane Austen's Emma. It was what a young lady of the Regency would have been reading. Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by Lauren
This is an old novel, not particularly well written and tends to be pretentious in the style used in the late 19th century. Read morePublished on February 28, 2013 by Robbie R. Montgomery
I adore old British literature- the words are rich and enveloping. I can read Jane Erye or any Bronte/Austen novels over and over again. Read morePublished on August 28, 2012 by Ann E. Steldt
I read this book in order to experience Gothic literature and specifically an author that influenced Jane Austen. Read morePublished on April 22, 2012 by Love To Read
I am only partly through the book, but so far am loving it. However, there are numerous flaws with this digital edition. Read morePublished on January 21, 2010 by EyeOfTheLlama
France, 1640s. Adeline has had a difficult life. After her mother dies, her father places her in a convent, where, in misery, she begs him to release her. Read morePublished on May 12, 2009 by CoffeeGurl