Zofloya: Or the Moor
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Zofloya: Or the Moor

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  493 ratings  ·  49 reviews
'Few venture as thou hast in the alarming paths of sin.' This is the final judgement of Satan on Victoria di Loredani, the heroine of Zofloya, or The Moor (1806), a tale of lust, betrayal, and multiple murder set in Venice in the last days of the fifteenth century. The novel follows Victoria's progress from spoilt daughter of indulgent aristocrats, through a period of abus...more
Paperback, 306 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1806)
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Anna
Hey, Oxford University Press, you know what would be great? If there's a SHOCKING TWIST on page 267 of a 268-page book, don't give it away on the book's back cover.
Lisa Andres
Deliciously Gothic. I rather liked the melodramatic & excessive language -- namely because it was used in an ironic manner. Dacre's heroine is a refreshing change from the passive and insipid Gothic heroines of tradition, and I like her message that the 19th century belief of the Angel/Whore dichotomy is patriarchal, socially constructed, and unnatural.
MountainShelby
Minor spoilers. Highly Recommended for fans or students of gothic lit, 18th/19th century lit, psychological lit, women's lit. Zofloya has to be one of the most unusual books I've read from a multitude of perspectives, from very frank sexuality to a wicked, and relatively graphic, amount of bloodshed--especially the last 50 pages. Victoria is certainly one of the most compellingly wicked heroines in literature--her selfishness is so apparent, so over the top, at times it's transformed into black...more
Alex Sarll
Oct 09, 2013 Alex Sarll marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Kim Michasiw's introduction makes all manner of convincing points about the way this Gothic yarn undermines many theories about women's writing around the time of Jane Austen, but also admits with some embarrassment that Dacre's prose "is marred by straining after affect". This is putting matters very mildly; compared to the ceaseless editorialising and superfluous adjectives of Zofloya, The Young Visiters is the work of a master stylist. All the best Gothic gets away from its writer somewhat, t...more
Leah
I wasn't sure whether to give this book three or four stars. The writing is more deserving of three stars; however, this novel marks a very different direction in gothic literature. Often considered simply a retelling of Lewis' The Monk with a female Ambrosio, Zofloya is much more. First of all, unlike Radcliffe's ,The Italian, also a retelling of The Monk, Dacre constructs a very different plot. She also avoids religion, so unlike Lewis' book, this one cannot be seen as being anti-Catholic. Vic...more
Laura
Jan 15, 2008 Laura rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Gothic / early Victorian lit
Recommended to Laura by: professor
Perhaps I would think differently if I had read the Monk, but I found Zofloya to be an engrossing page-turner. Part Castle of Otranto, part Caleb Williams, the story of the evil Italian beauty, Victoria, her ill-fated family, and the doomed "innocents" who cross her path is not your typical "damsel in distress" Gothic read. Comparisons with the Monk and rampant sexual overtones earned the reviewers' scorn in 1806, but I think modern audiences will be more sympathetic. The fast-paced final parts...more
Brian
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kyla Crowley
For a Gothic novel, this was boring as shit.
Almost every single time I went to read it, I was put right to sleep.
I wish I was joking, but I slept about 9 or 10 hours last night because I was trying in vain to finish this book for my class.
We have to present to the class the structure of the Gothic novel, and I am doing the significance of the Devil and his role in a lot of Gothic books.
Would he came a bit sooner... Zofloya (Satan) doesn't appear until page 145. By then you are dulled out of yo...more
Grace Harwood
I have read this one for a course I have been doing on Gothic Literature and it is, so far, my favourite text to date. The story features the fantastic Victoria, who is the real protagonist of the novel (Zofloya, the eponymous character, not making an appearance until the last 100 pages). Victoria is everything a hero should be (I say hero, because she is very manly in the way she takes control of her situation - in fact, there is not much of the typical early 19th Century heroine about her). In...more
Max Fincher
If you think that all the women in the Regency period were pretty, 'accomplished', genteel women who wore bonnets, spent their days drinking tea in English country houses, and needed a husband to protect them from the world, then think again. The character of Victoria di Loredani, the anti-heroine of Charlotte Dacre's novel, 'Zofloya' (1806,) is about as far from Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennett, or Emma, as you can imagine.

The novel was partly a response to the first real 'horror' novel in Engli...more
Lisa Cook
This was a novel that was originally part of the curriculum for a British gothic novel class I took in college, but the professor ran out of time to assign it. It has sat on my shelf for years and I finally found the motivation to pick it up. As far as novels go, it wasn't fantastic, but as far as eighteenth century gothic novels go it was quite good. It plays with a lot of the typical motifs and themes present in other novels of the time, but it inverts, perverts and contorts them. The novel fe...more
Xander
This book is really weird. There are parts that are sort of hard to understand if you're not used to novels like this one, or at least novels from the time period, but it's interesting to read and actually fairly interesting to analyze, if that's the sort of thing that you're into.
Miriam
Feb 10, 2011 Miriam marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-lack
The library has this only in a Spanish translation. I don't think I need to read it that urgently.
Braden
I wrote my MA thesis on this book.
Marty
Hate her or...well, at least pity her for her almost mindless viciousness, you can't help but be fascinated by Victoria de Loredani. This 1806 Gothic novel is remarkable in that its antiheroine is unapologetically self-centered, lustful and completely willing to break any law, commit any crime to get what she wants. The spoiled undisciplined daughter of late fifteenth century Venetian aristocrats, Victoria's life is blighted by her mother's elopement with a lover. After her brother runs away and...more
Mel
This book was recommended to me by sahra_patroness because she heard I was into Gothic literature. She suggested this one as it has a strong female character, rather than a weak fainting heroine as often found in Mrs. Radcliffe's works. (Which granted I also need to read!) But I decided I had to read it. The story did have a bit of a strange plot arc, as is often the case in older novels. "The Moor" didn't show up till about a third of the way through but had one of the most dramatic entrances o...more
Catherine
Review originally posted on my blog, thisisjustabookblog.tumblr.com

Wow. I finished this book about 10 minutes ago and I’m still reeling from the ending. No matter what you think of this book, you have to admit that it has more shocks and twists and turns than you could ever imagine. It’s kind of like a soap opera, actually. Just when you think a character could be happy - BAM! something comes along to destroy it.


I did find the style of writing in this book a little hard to get into, but that’...more
kasia
I had high hopes for this one. The author apparently wanted to do something like The Monk, but with a female villain. So I was looking forward to a really, really evil woman. And definitely, the novel is somewhat shocking, I guess, in its portrayal of female villainy (though Vathek far outpaces it) - but actually, pretty much ALL the women in the text end up being at least a little evil, which somewhat weakens the overall effect. And the moralizing is so heavy handed and droning that you lose mo...more
Diarmid
'Zofloya' is a slightly overlooked classic of Gothic literature, sitting somewhere between Radcliffe's 'The Mysteries of Udolpho' and Lewis's 'The Monk'. The heroine Victoria di Loredani is a young woman from a well off Italian family, a family which is destroyed by the mother's adultery. Victoria gradually falls further and further into vice, and falls ever faster after meeting the eponymous Moorish servant Zofloya, who only makes an appearance halfway through the novel. The first half of the n...more
Josef
As a young reader I was told that if you want to know what life was like in a certain era, read the fiction of that era. This book takes me to a place no other book has taken me. All comparisons aside...the tone, structure and language here are not for everyone...that's for sure.
I'm not sure this novel is "Gothic" but I'd bet most of the 19th novelists we call "Gothic" read it. Edgar Allan Poe was fond of this tone but in much smaller does.

Recommended!
Maziar Danesh
this is it,a marvelous Gothic romance
Kristina
Read this for my Gothic literature class. Didactic tone in some spots, but otherwise an interesting read. Noticed some references to Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno.
Rhiain
To be honest, I only picked up this book because it is for my uni course. It starts off slow, but once the story develops I found it intriguing on so many levels. Whilst Victoria is a selfish, naive heroine - the character of Zofloya is filled with mystery and draws readers in as he does Victoria.

If you're in the mood for a gothic horror filled with sex, murder, and sin - this is not a bad choice. I would still recommend The Monk by Mathew Lewis above it though.
Hanna
Read this for my English Degree and it was absolutely awful. I'm so glad it's over. I'm not looking forward to studying it in detail for the next 12 weeks. :| :| :|
Bekah Ticen
Gothic literature at its best. Charlotte Dacre breaks the mold of traditional female gothic and her heroine is anything but the fainting female normally seen in such literature. Entranced by the moor Zofloya, who is possessed by the devil himself, she begins a streak of evil that leads to a deliciously destructive downward spiral. Not for the faint of heart.
Janice Stotz
The author was brilliant in her portrayal of what happens when you give in to evil thoughts and desires, the consequences of giving your soul to Satan, and what it means to reap what you sow! I think this is a book that has to be read more than once to fully grasp all the undertones, themes and symbolism!
Adele
I read this for a class on witchcraft and women in literature and at first I saw a lot of similarities to a few books I had read such as Lewis, the Monk and Wuthering heights. However over all this was a great book and if you are into some wild supernatural and a twisted story read this book.
Lindsey
Just not my cup of tea.
Mary Petit
Again a book for women's lit, but this one was great, a difficult read due to the language but once you get past that part the whole love betrayal dance with the devil story line was great.
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Most commonly known as Charlotte Dacre, she was born Charlotte King in either 1771 or 1772. She published fiction, poetry, and lyrics, alternately using the names Charlotte King, Rosa Matilda, and Charlotte Dacre.

She married Nicholas Byrne, editor of the Morning Post, and her obituary in 1825 referred to her as Charlotte Byrne.

Today, she is known for her contributions to Gothic fiction, most nota...more
More about Charlotte Dacre...
Zofloya; Or, The Moor Zofloya, or the Moor V2: A Romance of the Fifteenth Century (1806) The Libertine The Passions Hours of Solitude a Collection of Original Poems Volume 2

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“She turned of an ashy paleness as cold hatred and desire for revenge took possession of her vindictive soul.” 2 likes
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