Ann Radcliffe : the great enchantress


Ann Radcliffe : the great enchantress

Robert Miles

Manchester University Press, c1995

  • : pbk

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Bibliography: p.[187]-198

Includes index



To her contemporaries, Ann Radcliffe was "The Great Enchantress". Her wild and stormy Gothic romances made her one of the most popular and successful writers of the late-18th century. This is an introduction to her life and work, written especially for first- and second-year undergraduate students of literature and culture. Radcliffe was lampooned by many for the excesses of her writing - the craggy mountains, gloomy forests, ghosts, orphans, fainting heroines, fantastic resolutions - and yet her influence was felt across England and throughout Europe. The 1790s was a time of great social and political upheaval and Miles argues that Radcliffe should be read not as a conservative writer, but one who creatively renders visible the power structures of her time, place, gender and class. This work is intended for all students of the period and for anyone interested in the Gothic genre and women's writing.


  • The great enchantress
  • the gentlewoman and the authoress
  • the aesthetic context
  • the historical context
  • the early works - "The Castles of Athlin and Dunbayne" and "A Sicilian Romance"
  • in the realm of the figural - "The Romance of the Forest"
  • the hermeneutics of reading "The Mysteries of Udolpho"
  • Radcliffe's politics - "The Italian".

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