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A Sicilian Romance By Ann Radcliffe
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In A Sicilian Romance (1790) Ann Radcliffe began to forge the unique mixture of the psychology of terror and poetic description that would make her the great exemplar of the Gothic novel, and the... More > idol of the Romantics. This early novel explores the cavernous landscapes and labyrinthine passages of Sicily's castles and convents to reveal the shameful secrets of its all-powerful aristocracy.< Less
The Italian By Ann Radcliffe
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The Italian, or the Confessional of the Black Penitents (1797) is a Gothic novel written by the English author Ann Radcliffe. It is the last book Radcliffe published during her lifetime. The Italian... More > has a dark, mysterious and somber tone, and concerns the themes of love, devotion and persecution by the Holy Inquisition. It also deals with issues prevalent at the time of the French Revolution, such as religion, aristocracy and nationality. Radcliffe's renowned use of veiled imagery is considered to have reached its height of sophistication and complexity in The Italian; concealment and disguise are central motifs of the novel. In line with late 18th-century sensibility and its parallel fetishisation of the sublime and the sentimentally pastoral, the heightened emotional states of Radcliffe's characters are often reflected through the pathetic fallacy. The novel is noted for its extremely effective antagonist, Father Schedoni.< Less
The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne By Ann Radcliffe
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The novel is a set in a powerful landscape which became familiar in her later work, with complex clan feuds and mysterious romantic intrigues played out against a backdrop of ruined medieval castles... More > and rugged Scottish coastlines. Each of the characters can be defined by their passions: The present Earl of Athlin, Osbert, is driven by a passionate desire to avenge his father’s murder at the hand of Malcolm, the Baron of Dunbayne. His sister, Mary, is ever swooning and fainting in an attempt to resist her passion for Alleyn, a highlander not of noble birth. Alleyn is likwise driven to heroic deeds of rescue because of his love for Mary. Even the villain, Baron Malcolm, is driven by his desire—first a desire to kill Osbert; it is later supplanted by his desire to possess Mary. Although the passions of its leading characters dominate the plot, the castles of the title are as central to the narrative, establishing an enduring Gothic trope.< Less