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The Romance of the Forest (Oxford World's Classics) 1st Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199539222
ISBN-10: 0199539227
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Editorial Reviews

Review

`Good to see this archetypal and influential Gothic novel in print.' Dr Philip W. Martin, King Alfred's College, Winchester --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Ann Radcliffe’s Romance of the Forest, first published in 1791, is the epitome of the Gothic novel: a beautiful, orphaned heiress, a dashing hero, a dissolute, aristocratic villain and a ruined abbey deep in a great forest are combined by the author in a tale of suspense where danger lurks behind every secret trap-door. Reprinted four times between 1791 and 1795 and satirised as representative of the Gothic genre by Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey, Radcliffe’s tense masterpiece, in which the heroine is afraid even to look in the mirror for fear of what she might see behind her, established her reputation as a writer and her brilliant descriptions of both characters and scenes serve to create the perfect atmosphere for a novel packed with emotional intensity. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199539227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199539222
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.8 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #235,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 5, 2002
Format: Paperback
The story of a persecuted girl who is delivered from one person to another who are compelled by different motives to decide her destiny. Her beauty and refinement of character attract many to her, but only one wins her love and proves worthy of it by his noble actions.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This edition of the novel (by Wildside Press), unlike the Oxford edition, includes absolutely no information about the novel. From what printing is this edition taken, for example? No introduction, no footnotes or glosses--nothing at all to help students read this novel.

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.
2 Comments 19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Today Ann Radcliff is known for two thrilling Gothic novels -- 'Mysteries of Udolpho' (1794) and 'The Italian' (1797) -- but her talent was first recognized by 'The Romance of the Forest' (1791). 'The Romance' is now obscured by the more famous works, but can still offer some thrills common in the 18th-century Gothic world in its own way.

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.
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Format: Paperback
I admire the way in which the authoress took all of her threads at the end and made them part of a carpet intricate in design. The heroine was lovable, but the romance between her and her lover was too restrictive and cold that I was often disappointed with it and not convinced, all though perhaps it suits the stereotype of the times, but I doubt I could ever keep my feelings so hidden. Despite my many qualms with the book, it was often exciting, and I do credit Radcliffe's ability to set words on paper. It is a perfect example of the gothic genre.
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Format: Paperback
I didn't love this book with the fervent devotion I love her Mysteries of Udolpho or The Italian, you can tell it was one of her first. Radcliffe's writing improved immensely. I wouldn't start out with this book, read Mysteries of Udolpho first!

I am a die hard fan of Radcliffe's, this is another excellent and grand novel.
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