09.07.

Ann Radcliffe – the originator of the Gothic novel (1764)

Ann Radcliffe – the originator of the Gothic novel (1764)

Ann Radcliffe was born as Ann Ward on July 9, 1764 in London. She was a writer and one of the most popular representatives of the Gothic novel, while some consider her the originator of the genre. Little is known about her private life. She spent her childhood and youth in London, with relatives who belonged to a higher social class. In 1772 she moved with them to Bath, where she attended school.

At age 23, she married William Radcliffe. He completed his studies at Oxford and worked as a political reporter. He later owned and published the English Chronicle. He encouraged Ann to write to shorten the time. Her first works were the love novels The Castle of Athlin and Dunbayne (1789) and A Sicilian Romance (1790), which she published anonymously. She achieved great success with the novel The Romance of the Forest (1791). The first edition came out anonymously, and the others under her name. After this novel, she established herself as a first-class writer of the Gothic genre.

Usually the main character was an emotional and romantic heroine, who, experiencing terrible situations, must learn that reason must guide feelings. Critics emphasize Anna’s talent for describing in detail the landscapes that contribute to the novel’s atmosphere. After this success, she published the novels The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794) and The Italian (1797). Because she loved to travel, the plot of her novels takes place in other countries as well. In 1795 he published A Journey Made in the Summer of 1794 through Holland and the Western Frontier of Germany.

The works of Ann Radcliffe have inspired many famous names: Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Edgar Allan Poe. Despite her fame, she lived a very secluded life and rarely appeared in public. Another novel was published anonymously Ode to Terror (1810). This story sparked rumors of alleged madness and adventures. She died in 1823 of an asthma attack. The novel Gaston de Blondeville (1926) was published posthumously.

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