|C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the Worlds Best Literature.|
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.
H. R. Keller. The Readers Digest of Books.
|The Mysteries of Udolpho|
|Ann (Ward) Radcliffe (17641823)|
|Mysteries of Udolpho, The, by Mrs. Anne Radcliffe (1795). Like the famous Castle of Otranto of Horace Walpole, this story belongs to the school of lime-light fiction. Udolpho is a mediæval castle in the Apennines, where, during the seventeenth century, all sorts of dark dealings with the powers of evil are supposed to be carried on. The love-lorn lady who is more or less the victim of these supernatural interferences is an English girl, Emily St. Aubyn; and her noble and courageous lover, who finally lays the spell, is the Chevalier Velancourt. The plot, such as it is, is quite indescribable; and the interest of the book lies in the horrors which accumulate on horrors head. Modern taste finds the romance almost unreadable, yet Sheridan and Fox praised it highly; the grave critic and poet-laureate Warton sat up all night to read it; and Walter Scott thought that, even setting aside its breathless interest as a story, its magnificence of landscape, and dignity of conception of character, secure it the palm; while the author of The Pursuits of Literature, a distinguished scholar, who knew more of Italian letters than any other man in England, discourses on the mighty magician of The Mysteries of Udolpho, bred and nourished by the Florentine Muses in their sacred solitary caverns, amid the paler shrines of Gothic superstition and in all the dreariness of enchantment: a poetess whom Ariosto would with rapture have acknowledged.|| 1|