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The Mysteries of Udolpho

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Date Published: 16 July 2012
Ann Radcliffe
In Collection(s): The Victorian Gothic

Episode academic description

Often cited as the archetypal Gothic novel, 'The Mysteries of Udolpho' plays a prominent role in Jane Austen's novel Northanger Abbey, in which the impressionable young woman Catherine Morland, comes to see her friends and acquaintances as Gothic villains and victims after reading Radcliffe's novel. The text represents a typical Gothic romance, filled with incidents of physical and psychological terror; remote, crumbling castles; supernatural events; a scheming villain, and a persecuted heroine. Radcliffe also added extensive descriptions of exotic landscapes in the Pyrenees and Apennines. It is interesting to compare the Gothic elements present in this eighteenth-century novel with those used in Victorian fiction.