The Mysteries of Udolpho | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 28 pages of analysis & critique of The Mysteries of Udolpho.
This section contains 7,971 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Terry Castle

SOURCE: Introduction to The Mysteries of Udolpho, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp. vii-xxvi.

In the following essay, Castle, while agreeing with other critical assessments that Radcliffe's work is erratic and seriously flawed, argues that the novel should not be dismissed completely because Udolpho has a definite emotional power that the unprejudiced reader can learn to appreciate.

Perhaps no work in the history of English fiction has been more often caricatured—trivialized, misread, remade as hearsay—than Ann Radcliffe's late eighteenth-century Gothic classic The Mysteries of Udolpho. Some readers, indeed, will know Radcliffe's novel only as hearsay: as that delightfully ‘horrid’ book—full of castles and crypts and murdered wives—pressed upon Catherine Morland, the gullible young heroine of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey (1817), by her Bath friend Isabella Thorpe. After consuming the book in a great voluptuous binge, the impressionable Catherine begins to see the everyday world around her as...

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This section contains 7,971 words
(approx. 27 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Terry Castle
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Critical Essay by Terry Castle from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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