The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of UdolphoA Best Seller In Its Day And A Potent Influence On Sade, Poe, And Other Purveyors Of Eighteenth And Nineteenth Century Gothic Horror, The Mysteries Of Udolpho Remains One Of The Most Important Works In The History Of European Fiction After Emily St Aubuert Is Imprisoned By Her Evil Guardian, Count Montoni, In His Gloomy Medieval Fortress In The Appenines, Terror Becomes The Order Of The Day With Its Dream Like Plot And Hallucinatory Rendering Of Its Characters Psychological States, The Mysteries Of Udolpho Is A Fascinating Challenge To Contemporary Readers This mammoth, prolix book the first wildly popular gothic novel is indifferently written, poorly planned,and inconsistent in purpose and tone Radcliffe s style is irritating, filled with continual redundancies, superfluous commas and dialogue that is often stilted and improbable The plot doesn t even get in gear until a third of the way through two hundred pages , and it loses its focus and dissipates its power in the last one hundred and fifty pages or so when Radcliffe introduces some pal This mammoth, prolix book the first wildly popular gothic novel is indifferently written, poorly planned,and inconsistent in purpose and tone Radcliffe s style is irritating, filled with continual redundancies, superfluous commas and dialogue that is often stilted and improbable The plot doesn t even get in gear until a third of the way through two hundred pages , and it loses its focus and dissipates its power in the last one hundred and fifty pages or so when Radcliffe introduces some pallid new characters and orchestrates a few second rate thrills that in their similarities to events of the earlier narrative verge on self parody Yet the novel has an undeniable power and charm A lot of this is due to Emily, the virtuous and loving but never stuffy young lady protagonist who would certainly become a model for Austen as well as a source of parody not only because of her sensible moral nature and highly developed sensibility but also because of her willingness to modify her often mistaken judgments when confronted withreliable information The villain Montoni is also memorable, the prototype of Heathcliffe, Rochester, de Winter and manyHe is not really evil so much as thoroughly selfish, completely arrogant, convinced of the absolute privilege of patriarchy and nobility He is believable, and therefore infuriating, a worthy ancestor of a long line of gothic villains A great deal of the charm of this book, however, comes from the characters appreciation of the beauty and power of landscapes fathers educate daughters through landscapes,lovers gaze and comment upon landscapes to each other, evaluate the sincerity and subtlety of one another s character and consciousness based on their reaction to landscapes, and later, when circumstances have forced them apart, they will comfort themselves with the solitary contemplation of landscapes The villains show no interest in landscapes whatsoever, and the good people, when oppressed and harried by evil, cease to be moved even by the beauties of nature, no matter how sublime they may be Besides, I believe one of the reasons the book shifts from France to Italy in addition to signaling a shift in narrative from pastoral simplicity to Machiavellian malice is in order that the heroine may move from contemplating the tranquil landscapes of Claude Lorrain to surveying the craggier and threatening vistas of Salvator Rosa Landscape as character is as important to The Mysteries of Udolpho as it is to Wuthering Heights or any Anthony Mann western If you pay close attention to the landscapes of Udolpho and Emily and Montoni as well you just might enjoy as I did this unwieldy and often infuriating novel A well informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking and the temptations of the world without, will be counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within Castle UdolphoEmily St Aubert has done her best to prepare her mind for the outside world, but when both her parents A well informed mind is the best security against the contagion of folly and vice The vacant mind is ever on the watch for relief, and ready to plunge into error, to escape from the languor of idleness Store it with ideas, teach it the pleasure of thinking and the temptations of the world without, will be counteracted by the gratifications derived from the world within Castle UdolphoEmily St Aubert has done her best to prepare her mind for the outside world, but when both her parents suddenly succumb to a sickness she finds herself at the mercy of charity Her aunt, the sister of her father, reluctantly takes her in Her aunt is, well, difficultMadame Montoni was not of a nature to bear injuries with meekness, or to resent them with dignity her exasperated pride displayed itself in all the violence and acrimony of a little, or at least of an ill regulated mind She would not acknowledge, even to herself, that she had in any degree provoked contempt by her duplicity, but weakly persisted in believing, that she alone was to be pitied The only source of comfort that Emily has is a young man by the name of Valancourt, totally unsuitable as a marriage match because he is unfortunately the second son and primogenitary is still the law of the land in France in 1584 He will have to make his fortune by other means than inheritance When the husband of her aunt, the dastardly, scheming, brooding, perfectly conceived gothic villain Montoni wants to spirit them back to his native land of Italy, Valancourt tries to get Emily to run away with him.She of course refuses otherwise the novel could not have been titled Mysteries of Udolpho Emily wants her marriage to Valancourt to be validated She does not want to be one of those women who is the main subject of gossip for the rest of her life She believes that reason and her own stubbornness will win out Ann Radcliffe devouts many passages describing the romantic scenery of France and Italy Emily is a contemplative person, given herself over to many long sighs, and indulging in pleasurable melancholy about her futureThe spiral summits of the mountains, touched with a purple tint, broken and steep above, but shelving gradually to their base the open valley, marked by no formal lines of art and the tall groves of cypress, pine and poplar, sometimes embellished by a ruined villa, whose broken columns appeared between the branches of a pine, that seemed to droop over their fall They go to Venice which is when Emily finds out Montoni s true intentions toward her virtue He plans to marry her to one of his friends Count MoranoBut she avoided even naming Count Morano, muchthe declaration he had made, since she well knew how tremblingly alive to fear is real love, how jealously watchful of every circumstance that may affect its interest and she scrupulously avoided to give Valancourt even the slightest reason for believing he had a rival But when Montoni s luck at the gaming tables of Venice abandon him he is forced to flee to his castle in the Apennines MountainsCastle Udolpho Morano is left high and dry mostly dry, but slightly damp it is Venice after all , with flowers in hand, wondering where his bride to be has been taken The plot really picks up at Udolpho The book starts to feellike a gothic horror than a gothic romanceShe saw herself in a castle, inhabited by vice and violence, seated beyond the reach of law or 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 principlesThe quotes from Shakespeare start to come fast and furious Unnatural deeds Do breed unnatural troubles infected minds To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets More needs she the divine, than the physician MACBETH So there are unusual noises, ball lightening dancing along iron spear heads, mysterious phantom figures, a veiled portrait that when seen renders our heroine insensible, Italian bandits, a siege, cold damp walls, secret passageways and haunting music Emily does not get a full nights sleep the whole time she is imprisoned at Udolpho She begins her mental jousting with Montoni He is interested in her estates She is interested in her freedom, but she does not want it bought too dearlyEmily, as she observed him in silence, saw, that his countenance was darker and sterner than usual O could I know, said she to herself, what passes in that mind could I know the thoughts, that are known there, I should no longer be condemned to this torturing suspense Montoni is heartless, cruel, and unprincipled He is feral in his desire for self preservation He sneers at the weak and feels justified in his criminal behaviorHis character also, unprincipled, dauntless, cruel and enterprising, seemed to fit him for the situation Delighting in the tumult and in the struggles of life, he was equally a stranger to pity and to fear his very courage was a sort of animal ferocity not the noble impulse of a principle, such as inspirits the mind against the oppressor, in the cause of the oppressed but a constitutional hardiness of nerve, that cannot feel, and that, therefore, cannot fearOh yesthatisMontoni Emily must survive the twists and turns of the plot as she tries to defeat a Goliathan opponent She discovers in the process that she hasspine than she would have ever dreamed possible buoyed by her own sense of the injustice of her circumstances and her desire to return to ValancourtYou may find, perhaps, Signor, said Emily, with mild dignity, that the strength of my mind is equal to the justice of my cause and that I can endure with fortitude, when it is in resistance of oppression I couldn t help thinking about all the women across Europe in 1793 who were stealing time away from their other duties to read this book It was a phenomenal best seller, in fact, mentioned in some places as the truly first best selling novel Ann Radcliffe was not the first gothic novelist, but she was the first to legitimize the genre Imitators were soon flooding the market with gothic romances to a public that had an insatiable addiction for the combination of thwarted love, dastardly villains, and crumbling castles Ann Radcliffe lost in her own gothic world Radcliffe herself was a recluse, rarely venturing outside away from her writing I can only speculate that she made her ivory castle and cared little for a real life that was beyond her control Wouldn t we all like to lose ourselves in the world of our own making The book dragged in the beginning for this reader, but gains momentum after Montoni enlivens the plot with his ingenious, scheming, larger than life personality If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at Emily St Aubert, has it all, loving parents, a nice, little, charming estate, she lives on, in southern France, Anno Domini 1584 The young gentlewoman, adores walking around her father s land, looking at the nearby, exotic Pyrenees Mountains, watching the calm Garonne River, flow by, hearing it making soft noises, as it goes along The lady likes playing an instrument, singing songs, to her affectionate father and mother, while sitting on a hill, with a great view, an enchanting moment, never Emily St Aubert, has it all, loving parents, a nice, little, charming estate, she lives on, in southern France, Anno Domini 1584 The young gentlewoman, adores walking around her father s land, looking at the nearby, exotic Pyrenees Mountains, watching the calm Garonne River, flow by, hearing it making soft noises, as it goes along The lady likes playing an instrument, singing songs, to her affectionate father and mother, while sitting on a hill, with a great view, an enchanting moment, never forgotten The Chateau is located in the province of Gascany, a beautiful area, the Atlantic Ocean., a short distance from their home, away from the tumultuous politics and battles, of Paris, meeting her beloved Monsieur Valancourt, the perfect life, but the world keeps turning, and not always in the right direction Emily soon loses both her parents, medicine being very primitive, back then, Aunt Cheron, her father s unkind sister, takes Emily to her home, the cold aunt promptly marries an evil Italian, Signor Montoni, who wants to take, Emily and her aunt, to his mysterious Castle of Udolpho, a remote valley, in Italy Faithful Valancourt, warns the teenager, not to go , and instead marry him immediately, he has heard things And very unfavorable to Signor Montoni, but Emily promised her dying father, to stay with his sister, until she comes of age, do I have to tell you, she makes a big, big , mistake Climbing the treacherous, but alluring Alps Mountains, by stagecoach, to get over to Italy, afraid of the much feared banditti, active there, the small party, arrives after a long, dull journey, at there intended destination, without incident First stop, the incomparable, Venice, a dream, in the middle of the ocean , Emily, starts to have fun here, moonlight gondola trips , after Luna, rises out of the beautiful sea, paradise on liquid, but it will not last Reality shows its ugly face, both to aunt and niece, soon they are held captive, by her new uncle, in the strange , dismal, Udolpho Castle, the party s final, undesirable stop , he needs their estates because of money troubles , and doesn t take no, for an answer Montoni, has a little gambling addiction, of course Uncle Montoni, is the chief of the bandits, here also, raiding the local noblemen and the rich, oblivious, travelers, in the area The gloomy castle, is haunted too, they say, apparitions are seen at night, weird sounds heard, coming from thin air, odd tales are told about the previous owner, she disappeared , one night in the woods , and was never seen alive, again, people say her ghost, still comes back, at midnight, seeking vengeance, but against who Poor beautiful, fragile, Emily , always fainting, fleeing an unwanted, persistent suitor, where can she get help Valancourt, is back in the army, far away, in France, she fears for her safety, the place is full of murderers, riots and fighting between themselves, are nightly occurrences, her room s door, can t be locked, if only, she had taken her admirer s advice One of the best Gothic novels ever written I m reading this book again to get back in touch with some of the early English gothic novels I m struck, in these early pages, by the extreme romanticization and lush description of nature The natural world has a sort of earthy goodness that draws Emily and her father in By contrast, the characters who areurbane are invariably depicted as manipulative and ruthless. You speak like a heroine, said Montoni, contemptuously we shall see if you can suffer like one And if all the sentences in this book were half as good as that one, we d be looking at a five star book here, but sadly the rest of it is just hella boring You might be reading a lame book if you have this thought Oh great, it s one of the heroine s long, shitty poems that s three fewer pages I ll have to actually read And if you think Montoni s threat means that the torture device you br You speak like a heroine, said Montoni, contemptuously we shall see if you can suffer like one And if all the sentences in this book were half as good as that one, we d be looking at a five star book here, but sadly the rest of it is just hella boring You might be reading a lame book if you have this thought Oh great, it s one of the heroine s long, shitty poems that s three fewer pages I ll have to actually read And if you think Montoni s threat means that the torture device you briefly glimpsed 50 pages ago is going to make a second,exciting appearance, you are wrong Mysteries of Udolpho is the second classic Gothic novel, the first being Horace Walpole s Castle of Otranto 1763 , which is better mostly because it s much shorter And Radcliffe pours on the Gothic stuff this is like a master class in the Rules Of Gothicness, and here s a Gothic drinking game which I fleshed out quite a bit here drink for each of the following plot devices Spooky castles Ghosts, vampires or other monsters Nasty weather Overwrought language Ancient family curses Damsels in distress distress of losing their chastity in nightgowns who faint a lot Byronic men with secretsIf you find yourself drunk you are reading a Gothic novel Or watching Scooby DooDamselAnyway there are like two or three spooky castles in Mysteries of Udolpho, I lost count, and who knows how many lengthy descriptions of unpleasant weather, and not a small amount of fainting Image is from this terrific piece on Gothic novels, which is just about my favorite thing ever.And she manages to make all that just spectacularly boring, which is really sortof an achievement, but not one to be proud of.Here s one of the things about Ann Radcliffe she really liked landscape paintings, and she didn t get out much, and what that means is that she sets the scene by spending paragraph upon paragraph describing paintings she likes, and that s exactly as boring as it sounds Here s a painting by her favorite guy, Claude LorrainShepherds and shit, is probably what this is calledShe s made an effort to create a twisty, mysterious plot, but she s hilariously terrible at big reveals plot twists happen with the impact of your grandfather telling an anti Semitic joke at Thanksgiving, everyone saw it coming and no one liked it and basically none of it works Two stars because that one sentence I quoted above is fucking amazing nostars because most of the suffering was done by me Cause I was so bored This is the second classic Gothic novel, but The Monk 1797 is still the first good one 3.5 rounded up Ye Gads I started this book back in July, had to table it, and started over the first week in December Still took me a month to finish I have to say, what Ms Radcliffe could have used the most in her writing career was the services of a good editor I can appreciate long descriptive passages, but how many in depth descriptions of someone collapsing into tears does one need By halfway through the book, she could have just said Emily wept and I would have known she was colla 3.5 rounded up Ye Gads I started this book back in July, had to table it, and started over the first week in December Still took me a month to finish I have to say, what Ms Radcliffe could have used the most in her writing career was the services of a good editor I can appreciate long descriptive passages, but how many in depth descriptions of someone collapsing into tears does one need By halfway through the book, she could have just said Emily wept and I would have known she was collapsed on the floor and near fainting.It is hard to put a finger on why this twisting, convoluted, over populated work works, but it does By the time the characters finally reached Udolpho, I was hooked and wanted to see where it was going and how on earth Radcliffe was going to tie up all these loose ends There were so many threads, it was hard to keep track of which Baron, Count or Chevalier was being followed or accused There were all the likely Gothic contrivances, castles with corridors beyond end and parts of houses not seen in 20 years, ghosts populating the peasant minds, mysterious music, hidden villainies and secrets There was Snidely Whiplash, poor little Nell and Dudley Do Right, ugh I mean Montoni, Emily and Valencourt Perhaps knowing it was the first time made these stereotypes a littlepalatable In any case, I did enjoy it once I was fully committed and I am glad to have it checked off my list of books I want need to read If you are thinking of reading it, I caution you to settle in for a story that can be laborious at times, thrilling at times, and funny in places that it clearly does not intend to be Enjoy I chose to read this book the same way many other people did I was reading the Jane Austen novel Northanger Abbey as part of a group read, and the topic of The Horrid Novels came up The Mysteries Of Udolpho was the only one I had access to, so it was the one I read.This is a long book, old fashioned in style naturally, being published in 1794 but I enjoyed it very much, even though I had my doubts going in because I lost my taste for the Gothic genre years ago I expected to give up on it, I chose to read this book the same way many other people did I was reading the Jane Austen novel Northanger Abbey as part of a group read, and the topic of The Horrid Novels came up The Mysteries Of Udolpho was the only one I had access to, so it was the one I read.This is a long book, old fashioned in style naturally, being published in 1794 but I enjoyed it very much, even though I had my doubts going in because I lost my taste for the Gothic genre years ago I expected to give up on it, but I was intrigued by Emily and her life, and found myselfandcurious about what would happen next with each page I read.I also had fun with this book, as I try to do with anything I read I learned new words like IZARD, MASSY, and DINGLE I actually have wild dingles close to me and never knew it until I looked up the definition to see why they seemed to make Emily so nervous.But it was when I read this sentence that I becamecurious about Ann Radcliffe herself Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted I was impressed by the incredible phrase like the dream of a distempered imagination and the entire sentence made me wonder if perhaps Radcliffe had read something which inspired her to write Udolpho.some frightful fiction aka horrid novel that set her to conjuring up all sorts of ghostly ideas that led to this book.So I looked her up at Wiki and found..not a whole lot She was a very private person and apparently there simply is not enough material about her life for a proper biography to be written But it is known that she did not believe that the Gothic genre was developing the way she thought it should In an essay her husband published after her death she states that terror aims to stimulate readers through imagination and perceived evils while horror closes them off through fear and physical dangers She saw writers of Gothic novels emphasizing horror as opposed to terror and it is believed that the frustration she felt over this change in focus is what made her quit writing Imagine the difference between an Alfred Hitchcock movie that will scare the daylights out of you with its suspense, and one of those Chainsaw Massacre things that just go for the shock value of blood and guts everywhere Radcliffe and Hitchcock would have seen eye to eye I was happy with the way all the Mysteries of Udolpho were explained in the final chapters every loose end that I kept wondering about was eventually tied neatly into a satisfying package, and all the explanations made sense to me I am looking forward to readingof Radcliffe s work in the future.There is just one question that does not get resolved, unless I missed it somehow If anyone reads The Mysteries Of Udolpho and finds out what happened to Manchon, please let me know.thanks I believe that memory is responsible for nearly all these three volume novels Oscar Wilde One thing I will say for this book is that it made Oscar Wilde s plays evenentertaining for me I now know what he was talking about when he trashes books of unusually revolting sentimentality And what he says is very true I am absolutely certain that Ann Radcliffe wrote this book as a sort of extended journal for her travels At least half of it is devoted to scenery descriptions Now this is I believe that memory is responsible for nearly all these three volume novels Oscar Wilde One thing I will say for this book is that it made Oscar Wilde s plays evenentertaining for me I now know what he was talking about when he trashes books of unusually revolting sentimentality And what he says is very true I am absolutely certain that Ann Radcliffe wrote this book as a sort of extended journal for her travels At least half of it is devoted to scenery descriptions Now this is not a bad thing in itself I read classics all the time and I understand appreciate that books tended to belong winded due to the limited amounts of solo activities available at the time But this is ridiculous I should point out that the full title of this book is The Mysteries of Udolpho, A Romance interspersed with some pieces of poetry by Ann Radcliffe SOME pieces Give me a break She throws in her poetry every chance she gets Her prose is neither creative or inspired Every single verse is cheesy, lacking good poetic structure and ALWAYS about nature This quickly gets redundant and I found myself skipping over her longer ones which can last for pages I have seen a few reviewers compare this book as the predecessor to Jane Austen I beg to differ I have read every single one of Jane Austen s books and these authors are separated by one very crucial fact Jane Austen is a good writer and Ann Radcliffe is not Radcliffe s writing style is extremely difficult to follow Commas seem to be a critical plot point with her Any kind of sentence and or dialogue will read something like this Emily, called, as she had requested, at an early hour, awoke, little refreshed by sleep, for uneasy dreams had pursued her, and marred the kindest blessing of the unhappy, but, when she opened her casement, looked out upon the woods, bright with the morning sun, and inspired the pure air, her mind was soothed Yes, that is all one sentence I am almost positive that I ve heard William Shatner talkfluidly Despite all my griping about this book, I think the thing that annoyed me the most was that I really just didn t care about Emily She struck me as very spoiled and sheltered She cries nonstop and is constantly wallowing in self pity In reality, none of the characters not even her evil uncle really abuse her They are strict and worldly, nothingIn one especially nauseating scene she is driving in a carriage with her aunt and uncle, wallowing in self pity as usual, and sees some peasants playing instruments She then thinks to herself how lovely it would be to be a peasant because then she could spend the whole day doing whatever she wanted and not be controlled by an evil aunt and uncle Umm what Last time I checked, peasants did NOT live a charmed life In contrast to Emily and Valancourt, I found myself actually liking her evil stepuncle, Montoni He was pretty much the only character with ANY kind of common sense To sum up, save yourself a painful 700 page read If you want a cute and light romance I suggest checking out books by Georgette Heyer Or go to the Bronte sisters if you want somethingGothic and substantial 2.5 Every author and aspiring author should read this book Not because it is a great book it really wasn t but because they will look at their proofreaders, copy editors and beta readers with a whole new appreciation Another reader I know decided to read the audio version fell asleep When she awoke a few hours later Emily her father were still endlessly travelling through Europe A ruthless, modern day editor would have halved this book in size would have produced a far better b 2.5 Every author and aspiring author should read this book Not because it is a great book it really wasn t but because they will look at their proofreaders, copy editors and beta readers with a whole new appreciation Another reader I know decided to read the audio version fell asleep When she awoke a few hours later Emily her father were still endlessly travelling through Europe A ruthless, modern day editor would have halved this book in size would have produced a far better book The imaginative descriptions of the scenery were lovely it s just there was so much of it.While Emily was a very brave heroine, she also cried, sobbed, trembled, shuddered, sighed above all fainted through most of the story The book s worst fault was that some of the most important actions view spoiler for example, the death of The Villain hide spoiler happened off page By 80% I was in skim mode I m amazed it took me that long.An important read for Northanger Abbey fans but I wouldn t recommend it for anyone else 3.5 stars for this classic gothic novel This was an engaging read and is considered to be one of the first gothic novels I loved the language, I loved the characters except for the evil M Montoni and Madame Charone , but I did dislike the extensive descriptions of scenery that seemed to go on forever I m glad that I read it, but I doubt I will ever tackle it again for a re read.

[Ebook] ➠ The Mysteries of Udolpho Author Ann Radcliffe – Oaklandjobs.co.uk
  • Paperback
  • 676 pages
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho
  • Ann Radcliffe
  • English
  • 22 December 2019
  • 0192815024